Gold Trail Launches Milestone NZB Filly of the Year Series

16 September 2021

Saturday's Group Three Gold Train Stakes (1200m) favourite, Imperatriz. Photo: Kenton Wright.

Celebrating a half-century of three-year-old filly excellence, the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series springs to life for the 50th time on Saturday with the running of the $80,000 Group Three Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings. 

The Gold Trail Stakes is the first of 11 races in the coveted NZB Filly of the Year Series, which has been won by some of the greats of the New Zealand turf, including La Mer (NZ) (Copenhagen), Noble Heights (NZ) (Sir Tristram), Our Flight (NZ) (Imperial Guard), Solveig (NZ) (Imposing), Snap (NZ) (Kingdom Bay), Tycoon Lil (Last Tycoon) and Savannah Success (Success Express), who is these days best known as the dam of super-sire Savabeel.

More recent winners include Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago), Katie Lee (Pins), King’s Rose (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice), Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi) and last season’s star filly Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel).

The prestigious series spans 11 Group races from early spring right through to March, when it culminates in the Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.

The eleven races throughout the season are keenly contested and with significant prizes for the owner, trainer and breeder of the ultimate Series winner. The NZB Filly of the Year winner immediately becomes a highly valuable breeding proposition and earns her connections $50,000 in bonus cheques including $10,000 for her breeder, $10,000 for her trainer and $30,000 for her owner. 

Saturday’s Gold Trail Stakes is set to provide a typically exciting start for the milestone 50th series, with a fascinating mixture of proven performance and stellar potential among its talented line-up.

The 16-horse field is headed by the undefeated Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), who has had three starts for three wins including last season’s Group Two Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and a resuming victory in the Group Three Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) earlier this month.

Bonny Lass (NZ) (Super Easy) won the Group Two Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in February, then picked up outstanding placings in the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m) and Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).

Bellacontte (NZ) (Burgundy), Ima Roca Bee (NZ) (El Roca) and Danger Strykes (NZ) (Astern) are all Listed winners, while Farrenc (NZ) (Dalghar) and Fonsalette (NZ) (Belardo) are Group-placed.

The lightly raced Funny Girl (NZ) (Showcasing), Ivanka (NZ) (Vadamos) and Mustang Valley (NZ) (Vanbrugh) have all scored impressive last-start victories.

The Gold Trail Stakes is worth 6 NZB Filly of the Year Series points to the winner, with 3 points for second and 1.5 for third. It will be run as Race 7 at Hastings on Saturday with a start time of 3.16pm.

Group Three Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) Field
# Horse Draw Comments Sale Purchaser Trainer Jockey
1 Imperatriz 1 The powerful Te Akau Racing stable has won six NZB Filly of the Year titles in the last 15 years, including with last season's star filly Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel). Their first starter in this season's series is an undefeated filly with exceptional credentials. Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) has had three starts for three brilliant wins, including a defeat of standout male two-year-old Sword of State (Snitzel) in last season's Group Two Eclipse Stakes (1200m). Imperatriz launched her three-year-old campaign with a victory in the Group Three Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) earlier this month.     Jamie Richards Danielle Johnson
2 Bonny Lass 8 Bonny Lass (NZ) (Super Easy) has barely put a foot wrong in her four-start career. She won both of her first two starts including the Group Two Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m), then stepped up to the elite level and picked up two outstanding third placings in the Group One Sistema Stakes (1200m) and Group One Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m). Jockey Craig Grylls won this race last year aboard Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto).     Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall Craig Grylls
3 Bellacontte 7 Burgundy filly Bellacontte (NZ) has never finished further back than fourth in her five-start career. She started out with two third placings, including the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m), then recorded a smart maiden win before finishing fourth in the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) at the end of July. The Chrissy Bambry-trained filly went to a new level in her first three-year-old start, winning the Listed Fillies' Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui on September 4.     Chrissy Bambry Sarah Macnab
4 Ima Roca Bee 4 After well-beaten sixths in the first two starts of her career, Ima Roca Bee (NZ) (El Roca) has improved sharply to win the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) and place in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) and Listed Fillies' Stakes (1200m) in her three subsequent appearances.     Karyn McQuade Joe Kamaruddin
5 Danger Strykes 15 Passed in at Karaka 2020 with a $50,000 reserve, Danger Strykes (NZ) (Astern) has been quick to make a real impact on the racetrack. She finished third on debut at Te Aroha in February, then won the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m) in her only other start. Karaka 2020, Book 1 Passed In, Res $50,000 Tony Pike Ryan Elliot
6 Farrenc 2 Dalghar filly Farrenc (NZ) was bought for just $6000 from Brighthill Farm's Book 3 draft at Karaka 2020. She raced twice as a two-year-old, winning at Pukekohe in her second start, then returned to action this season with a strong third in the Group Three Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m). Karaka 2020, Book 3 Mr SD & Mrs KJ Alexander, $6,000 Simon & Katrina Alexander Taiki Yanagida
7 Fonsalette 10 Fonsalette (NZ) (Belardo) was a $40,000 purchase from Book 2 of Karaka 2020. She has yet to win from six starts, but finished second in the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m), second in the Group Two Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) and fourth in the Group One Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m). Karaka 2020, Book 2 Ribot Stud, $40,000 Stephen Marsh Samantha Collett
8 All In Echoes 5 From the small Stratford stable of Jade Zuppicich, All In Echoes (NZ) (Echoes of Heaven) had three starts last season including a win at Wanganui in April. She made a promising start to her three-year-old campaign at the same venue earlier this month, finishing a close fifth in the Listed Fillies' Stakes (1200m).     Jade Zuppicich Wiremu Pinn
9 Flash Mary   Scratched        
10 Funny Girl 3 Racing in the colours of Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Funny Girl (NZ) (Showcasing) was bought for $50,000 at last year's Ready to Run Sale. She placed in both of her two-year-old starts last season, and kicked off as a three-year-old with a strong front-running win at Cambridge on September 2. 2020 Ready to Run Sale Cambridge Stud, $50,000 Lance Noble Sam Spratt
11 Ivanka 16 Vadamos filly Ivanka (NZ) is already a winner over this course and distance, leading all the way and scoring a convincing half-length victory on May 1. She placed in one of her two other starts, dead-heating for second with the subsequent Australian black-type winner Tutukaka (NZ) (Tavistock) over 1300 metres.     Sue Thompson & Mick Brown Kate Hercock
12 La Dolce Vita 13 Trainer Ralph Manning paid $20,000 to secure La Dolce Vita (NZ) (Per Incanto) from Book 2 of Karaka 2020. She has shown promise in her five starts to date, winning impressively at Cambridge on June 30 along with a second placing and two fifths. Karaka 2020, Book 2 RR Manning, $20,000 Ralph Manning Ashvin Goindasamy
13 Mustang Valley 6 The first winner for young sire Vanbrugh, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman's Mustang Valley (NZ) had three starts last season for a win at Te Rapa, a second at Ellerslie and a fourth in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m).     Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Vinnie Colgan
14 Platinum Machine 12 Platinum Machine (Free Eagle) had two starts last season, finishing fourth on debut at Awapuni before a fifth placing in the Listed Castletown Stakes (1200m).     Lisa Latta Lisa Allpress
15 Tui Rocks 11 El Roca filly Tui Rocks (NZ) has placed in two of her seven starts to date, along with a creditable fifth in the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m). She was a disappointing seventh in the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) in late July, then a close fifth at Woodville in her only other start.     Gerald Innes Kozzi Asano
16 Shambles 9 The well-bred Shambles (NZ) (Shamexpress) is a daughter of Magic Briar (NZ) (Thorn Park), who herself finished a close fifth in this race in 2010 and later won at Listed level. Shambles has had just one start so far, finishing at the tail of the field at Te Rapa earlier this month.     Daniel Cherry Bridget Grylls
17 Explosive Miss 14 First-starter Explosive Miss (NZ) (Jakkalberry) is a close relative to the Derby winners Explosive Jack (NZ) (Jakkalberry) and Vin De Dance (NZ) (Roc De Cambes). Explosive Miss has placed in two trials.     Clinton Isdale Shaun McKay