49th NZB Filly of the Year Series Springs to Life in Gold Trail

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Group Three Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) winner Bonita Aurelia (NZ).
Group Three Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) winner Bonita Aurelia (NZ).

The New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series is an iconic event on the New Zealand calendar, bringing the country’s finest fillies together every year for almost half a century to battle for the prestigious and coveted title. Now it’s this generation’s time to shine.

Saturday’s $70,000 Group Three Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings is the opening leg of the 49th New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, which runs from early spring right through to the Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March.

This 2020-21 series has been expanded to 11 races, with the addition of the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on October 24.

This year’s Gold Trail Stakes field is another line-up stacked with talent. Bonita Aurelia (NZ) (Sweynesse) was the standout performer in this group last season, winning the Group Three Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) and placing in the Group Two Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).

Taroni (NZ) (Showcasing) finished third in the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in late January, while the likes of De La Terre (NZ) (Reliable Man) Babylon Berlin (All Too Hard), Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto), Sweet Anna (NZ) (Tavistock) and Tokorangi (NZ) (Redwood) have been impressive winners in lower grades.

The Gold Trail Stakes is worth 6 points to the winner, with 3 for second and 1.5 for third. It has been a stepping stone to Filly of the Year Series glory for several fillies in the last 25 years. Sarwatch (NZ) (Jetball), Taatletail (NZ) (Faltaat) and Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy) all won the Gold Trail during their Filly of the Year-winning seasons, while Gold Trail placegetters such as Daffodil (NZ) (No Excuse Needed), Katie Lee (Pins) and Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago) blossomed through the remainder of the season and went on to claim the title.

The Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes will be run as Race 8 at Hastings on Saturday with a start time of 3:15pm.

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Taroni 7 Showcasing filly Taroni (NZ) made a big impression in her three appearances last season. She finished first and second in strong fields in her first two starts, then charged home for third in the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie. She resumed in the Group Three Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) earlier this month, making up ground late in the race to run fourth. Lance Noble Leith Innes
2 De La Terre 10 After contesting three stakes races last season including the Karaka Million 2YO, De La Terre (NZ) (Reliable Man) has returned this winter and spring a better and tougher filly. She scored impressive back-to-back wins at Te Rapa on July 4 and July 18, then ran a big race for second in the Northland Breeders' Stakes. Team Rogerson Ryan Elliot
3 Bonita Aurelia 1 Bought for only $500 as a weanling at the Karaka May Sale, quality filly Bonita Aurelia (NZ) (Sweynesse) has already earned more than $50,000 in her three-start career. She won the Group Three Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth at the beginning of February, then finished third in the Group Two Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m). Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Danielle Johnson
4 Wicket Maiden 3 Local filly Wicket Maiden (NZ) (Power) had three starts last season for two wins, including a powerful victory on New Zealand Oaks day at Trentham in March. Her only defeat was a close sixth after a slow start in the Matamata Breeders' Stakes. John Bary Johnathan Parkes
5 Opalescence 6 Opalescence (NZ) (Showcasing) was a $1,000 purchase on Gavelhouse.com, and she has already produced an outstanding return on that investment with two wins and $42,310 from five starts to date. She was also a gutsy fourth in the Matamata Breeders' Stakes. Jenna Mahoney Rosie Myers
6 Miss Dixie 2 Hawera filly Miss Dixie (NZ) (Contributer) has made a promising start to her career with placings in all three starts to date, including a strong-finishing third in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1200m) two weeks ago. Anna Clement Hazel Schofer
7 Babylon Berlin 4 There was plenty of pre-race hype surrounding the debut of Babylon Berlin (All Too Hard) on August 26, and the chestnut filly lived up to expectations with an easy four-length win. She had previously shown a ton of talent at the trials with three wins, and she is a half-sister to Australian stakes winner and Group One performer Darci Be Good (NZ) (Darci Brahma). Ben Foote Samantha Collett
8 Miss Aotearoa 11 Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto) is out of the stakes-placed Danex (NZ) (Danasinga), who is already the dam of four stakes performers including quality Australian stayer Oceanex (NZ) (Ocean Park). Miss Aotearoa was a last-start winner at Taupo, where runner-up Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel) went on to finish second in the Wanganui Guineas. Jamie Richards Craig Grylls
9 Sweet Anna 8 A full-sister to Australian Derby (2400m) winner Tavago (NZ) (Tavistock), promising filly Sweet Anna (NZ) (Tavistock) finished fifth on debut at Taupo last month and took a big step forward from that with an easy win at Te Rapa on September 5. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Matthew Cameron
10 Tokorangi 5 Tokorangi (NZ) (Redwood) showed an abundance of talent in her two appearances as a two-year-old last season. She finished second on debut at Te Rapa in December, then blew her rivals away with a six-length romp on her home track of Matamata in early January. Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard Cameron Lammas
11 Alchemia 9 Per Incanto filly Alchemia (NZ) has had only one previous start, finishing a close third behind race rival Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto) and the subsequent stakes performer Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel). Since then, Alchemia has scored a five-length win in a trial at Te Teko. Simon & Katrina Alexander
12 No Rock No Pop 12 Trained locally at Hastings, No Rock No Pop (NZ) (Rock 'n' Pop) did things wrong at Taupo last start but showed good ability with a placing in her previous appearance. Lee Somervell Leah Hemi