Fillies Feature on New Year’s Day
The Group 2 $100,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Royal Stakes will see the fillies battle out the sixth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series with a further 8 points up for grabs for the successful filly on New Year’s Day.
It will be the first time the fillies have stepped up to a middle distance journey with the Royal Stakes run over 2000m. The last five legs of the Filly of the Year Series will see all bar one race run over 2000m or further culminating in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on 15 March.
A field of 16 horses has been attracted for the Group 2 feature that will see 14 horses go to the post with 2 ballots hoping to gain a start through scratchings. There are three fillies backing up from the Group 2 Eight Carat Stakes that was run on Boxing Day and a further three fillies are backing up from the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas run on the same day.
At the top of the book is the third placegetter in the Eight Carat Classic Rising Romance (NZ) (Ekraar). Trained by Donna & Dean Logan, the filly by Ekraar is in good form having won her previous two races including a Listed victory before her last start third and jumps from barrier 7. Rising Romance currently sits in equal seventh position on the Series Leaderboard with 2 points.
The current fifth place holder in the Series is Whistling Dixie (NZ) (Pins) with six points following her Group 3 Eulogy Stakes victory two starts ago. The Graeme and Debbie Rogerson trained filly led the field in the Eight Carat Stakes before finishing sixth. She will start from barrier three in the Royal Stakes for jockey Michael Walker.
The Stephen Marsh trained Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel) started as race-favourite in the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas on Boxing Day however found trouble in the slowly run race and clipped heals causing her to fall. The daughter of Savabeel was an impressive winner of the Group 3 Wellington Stakes at her previous start and has drawn barrier 5 for rider Leith Innes.
One horse that was severely hampered by the fall of Lucia Valentina in the Great Northern Guineas was Total Response (NZ) (Kheleyf) and her run can be forgiven. The filly trained by Mike Moroney and Chad Ormsby was a winner of her two previous starts however has drawn barrier 15 for leading rider Opie Bosson.
Upset last start winner Nigelissima (NZ) (Pentire) broke maidens with victory in the Listed Championship Stakes Prelude over 2100m. The Pentire filly has already proven her staying ability unlike most fillies in the field that are untried over a middle distance. Trained by Jeff McVean and Emma-Lee Browne, Nigelissima will once again be ridden by Alysha Collet from barrier 8.
Taranaki visitor Celtic Woman (NZ) (Keeper) carries a consistent form line having recorded a win and two second placings from her last three starts. The John Wheeler trained filly will be ridden by Jonathan Riddell from barrier 2.
Donna & Dean Logan have a strong hand in the race with Telepathic (NZ) (Mossman) also representing the stable. The Mossman filly was fifth in the Eight Carat Classic, the first time she has finished outside of the top two placings in her four start career.
Roger James does not have Eight Carat Classic winner Hera engaged in the race but is represented by Cape Mapperley (NZ) (Thorn Park) in the Royal Stakes. A winner three stars back, the daughter of Thorn Park was a brave third last start and will be ridden by Josh Adams from barrier 9.
Royal Dominance (NZ) (Shinko King) ran a strong race in the Great Northern Guineas after being hampered at the 600m mark to finish a sound fifth. The filly by Shinko King has the advantage of barrier 1 and will be ridden by Rory Hutchings.
Matamata trained trio High Viz (NZ) (Perfectly Ready), Orsmunda (O’Reilly) and Persuasive(NZ) (Darci Brahma) enter the race as lightly raced fillies that have all won one race each. Persuasive will have the services of leading international rider James McDonald.
Satay (NZ) (Keeper) has the benefit of already racing over 2100m when she was third behind race rival Nigelissima in the Listed Championship Stakes Prelude. The Keeper filly will jump from an inside barrier of four and is to be ridden by Trudy Thornton.
Just making the field is Her Choice (NZ) (Coats Choice) a winner of one race. The Nicholas Bishara trained filly has drawn the outside barrier of 16 in the race.
The two ballots hoping to gain entry into the race are Matagouri (NZ) (High Chaparral) and maiden filly Perfect Rose (NZ) (Perfectly Ready).
The winner of the Group 2 New Zealand Bloodstock Royal Stakes will collect 8 points in the Filly of the Year Series with second placing earning 4 points and third picking up 2 points.
Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago) currently sits at the top of the Filly of the Year Series Leaderboard with 19 points ahead of Bounding (Lonhro) who will contest the Group 1 Railway Stakes on New Year’s Day.