Drakaina (NZ) Announces Her Arrival in NZB Southern Filly Series

4 March 2024

Drakaina (NZ) storm ahead to take out the NZB Airfreight Stakes.

Rapid improver Drakaina (NZ) (Ace High) burst to an equal lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series with a six-length romp in Saturday’s $80,000 Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1400m) at Wingatui.

The NZB Airfreight Stakes was the second leg of the four-race series and was worth 7 points to the winner, with 4 for second and 2 for third. Drakaina’s 7 points put her at the top of the table alongside Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard), who won the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) in September.

Drakaina was unraced at the time the Canterbury Belle was run at Riccarton in the spring. She made her debut in late November, finishing unplaced over 1200 metres at Ascot Park. She won a maiden race at Gore a month later, then stepped straight into stakes company and finished fourth in the Listed Gore Guineas (1335m) and second in the Listed Dunedin Guineas (1500m).

She joined the NZB Southern Filly Series on Saturday and scored a scintillating win.

After jumping from gate 12 in a 14-horse field, rider Jasmine Fawcett drove Drakaina forward to take the lead in the early stages of the race. She surrendered that position when The Real Treasure (NZ) (Per Incanto) made a big move along the back of the track, but by the time the field approached the home turn, Drakaina had cruised back up alongside that rival and was travelling superbly.

A riderless horse provided an unexpected challenge, crossing directly in front of her at the top of the straight, but Drakaina took it all in her stride and accelerated powerfully. She bounded away from her opposition, crossing the finish line six and a half lengths in front of the placegetters Sense Of Timing (NZ) (Time Test) and Epee Beel (Epaulette).

Bought by trainer and part-owner Ebony Turner for just $3,000 from gavelhouse.com, Drakaina has now had five starts for two wins, a placing and $79,235 in stakes.

“This filly gave me a fantastic feel and it was a great performance,” Fawcett said. “It was a good-quality field today and she proved she was definitely up to stakes standard. I thought the loose horse made it an even more impressive performance – that didn’t make it easy for her at all, but she handled everything really well and then put them away very convincingly in the straight.

“I have no doubt that she’ll go a bit further than this. I’m sure she’d be very competitive in those other three-year-old fillies’ races that are coming up at Riccarton, if that’s the way she goes. I’m not sure what her plans are from here. I’ll leave that up to Ebony, who’s done a great job with this horse so far. I’ll just do as I’m told, and I’ll definitely be keen to ride her again.”

The third leg of the NZB Southern Filly of the Year Series is the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m), which will be run at Riccarton on April 13. The Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) will be staged at the same venue a week later.