Epee Beel Crowned NZB Southern Filly of the Year after No Rain Ever Wins Warstep

22 April 2024

Epee Beel is the 2023-24 NZB Southern Filly of the Year winner.

A narrow win by No Rain Ever (No Nay Never) in Saturday’s Listed $80,000 NZB Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton provided an exciting conclusion to the 2023-2024 NZB Southern Filly of the Year Series, with Epee Beel (Epaulette) winning the prestigious title by just one point.

Epee Beel moved to 9 points with her win in last Saturday’s Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m). She held a lead of 5 points over her nearest challenger in the Warstep Stakes field, Sense Of Timing (NZ) (Time Test). With 7 points available to the winner of each race and 4 for second, a top-two finish by Epee Beel in the Warstep Stakes would have been enough to guarantee her the title.

In the end Epee Beel was unable to replicate last week’s heroics and finished fifth, leaving a clear shot at the title for Sense Of Timing. She dived through along the rail at the top of the straight and hit the lead, but was soon challenged by No Rain Ever wider out on the track.

Those two fillies fought out a thrilling finish, with No Rain Ever finding that little bit more in the final 50 metres to win by a long neck. Sense Of Timing was second, with Race Ace (NZ) (Swiss Ace) two lengths away in third.

No Rain Ever earned her first 7 points of the series, with Sense Of Timing collecting 4 points to lift her total to 8. Third-placed Race Ace moved on to the bottom of the table with her first 2 points of the series.

No Rain Ever (No Nay Never) in Saturday’s Listed $80,000 NZB Warstep Stakes.

It leaves Epee Beel as the NZB Southern Filly of the Year with 9 points, just one point in front of Sense Of Timing. No Rain Ever, Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard) and Drakaina (NZ) (Ace High) shared third place with 7

points each.

Winning the Warstep Stakes was a highly valuable result in itself for the well-bred No Rain Ever, who is by No Nay Never out of the multiple Group One placegetter November Rain (NZ) (Stravinsky). She has now had 12 starts for three wins, five placings and $136,725 in stakes for owner-breeders Matthew Goodson and Dianna Perron.

This was the first black-type win for the Bill Thurlow-trained filly, who had previously finished third in the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1200m) and fourth against older mares in the Group Three Cuddle Stakes (1600m).

“I’m just very thankful to be put on her,” winning jockey Lily Sutherland said. “I was supposed to ride her more forward, but I thought I’d better not panic when she got back.

“She has come through them really easily and got the front too soon, wobbled around a bit, but it was a really good win.

“Bill has supported me since I was a four-kilogram claimer and I’m very thankful to him.”