Amarelinha (NZ) Explodes into NZB Filly of the Year Lead

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Amarelinha (NZ) with strapper Sam Bergerson.

The 2020-21 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series has a new leader after Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel) scored a spectacular win in Saturday’s $100,000 Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa. 

Amarelinha was purchased by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $300,000 at Karaka 2019, and she has now won three of her five starts and $264,900 in stakes. This was her second Group Two victory in the NZB Filly of the Year Series so far, and her new total of 16 points puts her one point ahead of her stablemate Kahma Lass (NZ) (Darci Brahma).

Saturday was a particularly special result for Ellis and his wife Karyn Fenton-Ellis, who manages the syndicate that owns Amarelinha. This is the second time the race has been run under their name, and the couple have decided to sponsor the three-year-old fillies’ feature in perpetuity.

“It’s so special to win this race,” Karyn Fenton-Ellis said. “We decided some time ago to sponsor a race at Te Rapa. We’re both past chairmen of this club and have been honoured with life membership. We love this club and have been proud to serve it as volunteers, and we decided to take it a step further and sponsor this race in perpetuity. This is a proud day for us, and especially to do it with an emerging star filly who is still an untapped talent.”

Narrowly beaten by the unbeaten gelding Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) in an epic $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie last start, Amarelinha was a class above her opposition on Saturday.

After a comfortable run just behind the front-runner Needle and Thread (Makfi), jockey Danielle Johnson got the favourite into the clear and asked her to quicken in the straight. Amarelinha’s response was immediate and explosive, bursting to the lead and charging away from her opposition. She opened up a commanding winning margin of four and a half lengths.

“I just needed to bide my time, because Leith (Innes) on Sweet Anna (NZ) (Tavistock) is not someone you can just push out of the way,” Johnson said. “Once I got out, she just brained them. She was way too good.

“Her work prior to today was excellent, and I knew she would run well. She’s got so much acceleration.”

Amarelinha is trained by Jamie Richards, who will now weigh up the filly’s options for the coming weeks. She is the overwhelming favourite for next month’s Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham, which would cement a victory in the Filly of the Year Series. But there is also the option of the $1m Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie.

“She’s a really exciting filly, and we’ve had a big opinion of her since David first bought her at Karaka,” Richards said. “She reminded us a lot of our multiple Group One winner Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel). She didn’t race as a two-year-old, partly because of Covid-19 at the back end of the season.

“But she’s more than made up for that this time in. That was an exciting win.

“We’ll have a team talk on Monday morning about what we do from here. I haven’t won an Oaks yet, although the tangerine colours won with Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago) for Mark Walker a few years ago. This performance has given us plenty to think about.”

The dam of Amarelinha is Hopscotch (NZ) (O’Reilly), and Fenton-Ellis explained on Saturday that the filly’s name is the Portuguese word for hopscotch.

The Fillies’ Classic produced a quinella for champion sire Savabeel, with Slave to Love (NZ) making up good ground to run second. The Peter and Dawn Williams-trained filly earned 4 Filly of the Year Series points.

Needle and Thread held on for third, earning 2 points and moving up to a total of 10. That puts her in third place behind Amarelinha and Kahma Lass.

The NZB Filly of the Year Series now pauses for a few weeks, but will explode to life within the first few days of March. The $100,000 Group Two Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) will be run at Hastings on March 3, followed three days later by the $70,000 Group Three McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie.


Waikato Stud


Mr DC Ellis (Te Akau)


Savabeel – Hopscotch


Lot 85, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $300,000

Bred by

Waikato Stud