In-Form Fillies Clash in Seventh Leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series

27 January 2022

There is $50,000 in bonus cheques to be won in NZB's Filly of the Year Series.

A range of outstanding form lines from the last few weeks will converge at Trentham on Saturday for the seventh leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series – the $80,000 Group Three New Zealand Bloodstock Desert Gold Stakes (1600m). 

Princess Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes) is the only filly in the field of 13 to already have New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series points to her name, earning 6 points through her recent placings in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Royal Stakes (2000m). In both races she finished close up behind the Jamie Richards-trained stars Belle En Rouge (NZ) (Burgundy) and Self Obsession (NZ) (Shocking), who are first and third respectively on the points table and loom as major title contenders.

But there are also some compelling form credentials from other recent three-year-old races. Sassy Merlot (NZ) (Burgundy), a two-race winner in a six-start career to date, was a gutsy last-start third against male three-year-olds in the Group Two Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham – the same venue as this weekend’s Desert Gold Stakes. The two horses that beat Sassy Merlot that day were the undefeated star Shamus (NZ) (Shamexpress) and multiple stakes winner Pareanui Bay (NZ) (Lonhro).

La Crique (NZ) (Vadamos) has collected three wins in an exciting five-start career to date, including a superb last-start victory at Ellerslie over the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner The Perfect Pink (NZ) (Savabeel). Notably, the fourth placegetter in that Ellerslie race was Pin Me Up (NZ) (Pins), who went on to win last Saturday’s $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

Rue Cler (NZ) (Proisir) has won two races and was a close fifth in last month’s Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m), while Third Time Round (NZ) (Tivaci) finished a last-start fifth in the Wellington Guineas. Invincibeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Love Letter (NZ) (Wrote), Polly Plum (Xtravagant), Prioress (NZ) (Proisir), Shining Peak (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) and Korubela Miss (NZ) (Belardo) have been impressive maiden winners in recent weeks.

The NZB Desert Gold Stakes is worth 6 Filly of the Year Series points to the winner, with 3 for second and 1.5 for third. The Desert Gold Stakes will be run as Race 6 at Trentham on Saturday, with a start time of 3.25pm.

1 Sassy Merlot 6 Bought by Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Ballymore Stables for just $24,000 from Book 3 of Karaka 2020, promising filly Sassy Merlot (NZ) (Burgundy) has already picked up two wins and a Group Two placing from just six starts to date. She won at Matamata in October and Te Rapa in December, then took on a stellar three-year-old field in the Group Two Wellington Guineas (1400m) earlier this month and finished an excellent third. Karaka 2020, Book 3 Paul Moroney Bloodstock/Ballymore Stables NZ, $24,000 Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard Matthew Cameron
2 La Crique 4 From the first crop of Rich Hill Stud stallion Vadamos, exciting filly La Crique (NZ) has had five starts to date for three wins and two placings. She was a last-start winner in a strong race at Ellerslie, edging out the Group One winner The Perfect Pink (NZ) (Savabeel) in a fighting finish. The fourth placegetter in that race was Pin Me Up (NZ) (Pins), who later won the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).     Simon & Katrina Alexander Craig Grylls
3 Princess Lowry 13 Although still a maiden after three starts, Princess Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes) has already proven herself against some of the best of her generation. Third on debut at Tauranga in early December, she was thrown in at the deep end for her second start in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. She rose to the occasion with a game third, and she followed that a week later with a close second in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m).     Team Rogerson Jonathan Riddell
4 Rue Cler 10 Rue Cler (NZ) (Proisir) has already almost doubled her $15,000 purchase price for Bryce and Michelle Newman, recording two wins and a placing from five starts to date. She was also only two lengths from the winner Belle En Rouge (NZ) (Burgundy) when fifth in last month's Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m). Karaka 2020, Book 2 BE & MJ Newman, $15,000 Bryce Newman Kate Hercock
5 Avalene 8 A half-sister to the Group One winner Concert Hall (NZ) (Savabeel), up-and-comer Avalene (NZ) (Vadamos) has picked up a win and a placing from three starts so far. Her only unplaced finish came in last month's Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m), where things went wrong in the running and she ran ninth.     Roger James & Robert  Wellwood Vinnie Colgan
6 Invincibeel 3 A close relative to the Wellington Cup (3200m) winner Graphic (NZ) (Volksraad), the Jamie Richards-trained Invincibeel (NZ) (Savabeel) was unplaced in three starts over 1300 or 1400 metres before stepping up to 1600 metres with a stylish win at Te Rapa on January 19. Karaka 2020, Book 1 DC Ellis, $145,000 Jamie Richards Opie Bosson
7 Love Letter 12 A smart winner on debut at Rotorua in early December, Love Letter (NZ) (Wrote) has since produced a booming finish for third at Taupo on December 30, then had no luck when a last-start fifth at Otaki on January 13.     Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen Sam Weatherley
8 Polly Plum 5 Polly Plum comes from the second crop of exciting young sire Xtravagant (NZ) - a Karaka graduate who scored scintillating victories in the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Group One Waikato Sprint (1400m) and is now making a name for himself at stud with a flurry of winners in Australia. Fourth, seventh and third in her first three starts, Polly Plum took a big step forward at Te Rapa last week with a three-length maiden romp.     Jamie Richards Joe Kamaruddin
9 Prioress 11 Passed in at Karaka with a $30,000 reserve, Awapuni filly Prioress (NZ) (Proisir) has shown promise with a win, a second, a third and a fourth from her six starts to date. She was a a last-start fourth in a blanket finish at Awapuni on January 8. Karaka 2020, Book 2 Psd, Res $30,000 Lisa Latta Sarah Macnab
10 Shining Peak 1 Shining Peak (NZ) is bred and part-owned by Windsor Park Stud and is a daughter of their young stallion Turn Me Loose (NZ). The Tony Pike-trained filly won nicely at New Plymouth on December 22 and was a close fourth at Tauranga on January 14.     Tony Pike Michael McNab
11 Korubela Miss 7 Hawke's Bay filly Korubela Miss (NZ) (Belardo) is raced by her breeders, Pat and Rosie Laffey, along with trainer John Bary and the Red Meat Rules Syndicate. The chestnut filly was unplaced in her first four starts but has been a big improver in recent times, placing on her home track on December 8 before winning there on New Year's Eve. She was a last-start sixth at Otaki. Karaka 2020, Book 2 Psd, Res $25,000 John Bary Taiki Yanagida
12 Third Time Round 2 Third Time Round (NZ) (Tivaci) is still a maiden but has placed in two of her five starts, and she ran a big race for fifth last start in the Group Two Wellington Guineas (1400m) - finishing only 3.6 lengths from the unbeaten winner Shamus (NZ) (Shamexpress).     Chrissy Bambry Leith Innes
13 Divine Spirit 9 Divine Spirit (NZ) (Charm Spirit) has had three starts to date and has yet to fire, finishing no closer than seventh.     Brendon McDermott Robert Hannam