Jennifer Eccles (NZ) Set for NZB Filly of the Year Finale

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Loire and Jennifer Eccles will go head-to-head in final leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series.
Loire and Jennifer Eccles will go head-to-head in final leg of NZB Filly of the Year Series.

The tenth and final leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series could provide a fitting end to a dominant summer for Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle).

The winner of Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) will receive 12 points in the Filly of the Year Series.

Jennifer Eccles currently tops the table by 10 points. The only way the star filly can be beaten to the prestigious title is if she finishes outside the top three in the Oaks and the second-placed Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice) wins.

On the other hand, an Oaks victory would lift Jennifer Eccles to an extraordinary total of 44.5 points. No other filly has achieved a score over 40 since the dual Group 1 winner Justa Tad (NZ) (Istidaad) in 2004-05. Top-class fillies of subsequent years as Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago) and Katie Lee (Pins) reached 39 and 38 respectively.

Jennifer Eccles claimed her first win of the Series in the fourth leg, the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Boxing Day. She has since added dominant victories in the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) and Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2000m).

Loire is her only Filly of the Year Series threat, having earned 12 points with her victory in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November. She has subsequently placed in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and the Fillies’ Classic and Lowland Stakes.

While Jennifer Eccles has scored dominant victories over most of her Oaks rivals in recent weeks, the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m) provides a different form line. Run at Ellerslie three days after the Lowland Stakes, it was impressively won by Communique (NZ) (Redwood) ahead of her stablemate Karalino (NZ) (Zacinto).

The New Zealand Oaks will be run as Race 8 at Trentham on Saturday with a start time of 4:25pm.

Full race preview:
# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Jennifer Eccles 19 Once described as New Zealand's best maiden, Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) has destroyed that tag with highly impressive wins in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m), Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m) and Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2000m) in her last four starts. Bought for $5000 by syndicator Adrian Clark and raced by a huge group of owners, Jennifer Eccles has a 10-point lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series. Shaune Ritchie Jason Waddell
2 Loire 15 Loire (NZ) (Redoute's Choice) is the only filly within striking distance of Jennifer Eccles on the points table. If she wins the Oaks and Jennifer Eccles is unplaced, the title is hers. Loire won the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November, and she has subsequently placed in the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m), the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic and the Lowland Stakes. Tony Pike Vinnie Colgan
3 Showbeel 12 The early Filly of the Year Series appearances by Showbeel (NZ) (Savabeel) provided plenty of bad luck and frustration for connections, but she has become a rock-solid performer in the New Year. She won the Desert Gold Stakes before placing in the David & Karyn Fillies' Classic and Lowland Stakes. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Jonathan Riddell
4 Communique 8 An unknown runner in this year's field is Communique (NZ) (Redwood), who brings a very different form line to most of the other major contenders. She ran a close eighth behind the main male three-year-olds in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), then won the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m). Her connections have high confidence in her stamina. Stephen Autridge Craig Grylls
5 Bergamot 1 Bergamot (NZ) (Sweet Orange) ran second behind the high-class Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year's Day. She was unlucky in her next start at New Plymouth, then ran a close fourth in the Sunline Vase. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Matt Cameron
6 Seven Seas 18 After two wins in a row including the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth, Seven Seas (NZ) (Roc de Cambes) produced a strong finish for fifth in the Sunline Vase. Tony Pike Rosie Myers
7 Karalino 5 Stakes-placed over 1400 metres in the spring, Karalino (NZ) (Zacinto) ran a bold race for second behind her stablemate in the Sunline Vase. Stephen Autridge Johnathan Parkes
8 Feel The Rush 6 South Island filly Feel The Rush (NZ) (Proisir) has won three races this season, two of them over 2200 metres. She was unplaced in her two starts at stakes level. Kelvin & Aimee Tyler Kylie Williams
9 Meghan 7 Meghan (NZ) (So You Think) scored back-to-back wins at Matamata and Te Rapa before stepping up to stakes level and placing in the Sunline Vase. Lance Noble Leith Innes
10 Nothing Compares 11 After bursting into Oaks contention with a terrific second in the Oaks Prelude, Nothing Compares (NZ) (Jakkalberry) was badly hampered and finished well back in the Lowland Stakes at Hastings. Stephen Autridge Kozzi Asano
11 Pineapple Girl 3 Pineapple Girl (Olympic Glory) was a winner in Victoria before trans-Tasman trainer Mike Moroney moved her across to his Matamata base. Her two New Zealand starts have produced a fourth in the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic and sixth in the Sunline Vase. Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard Michael Coleman
12 Unlaced 14 Things have happened quickly for Unlaced (NZ) (Niagara), whose racing career started only two months ago with a second placing on New Year's Day. She scored back-to-back wins in January and February, then finished fourth in the Lowland Stakes. Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen Lisa Allpress
13 Ruby Rocks 2 Ruby Rocks (NZ) (Burgundy) was a winner over 1300 metres two starts ago, then placed over 1600 metres. She faces a big step up in distance here. Roger Allen Ryan Elliot
14 Rukita 4 After a stylish maiden win in early January, Rukita (NZ) (Roc de Cambes) has produced some strong late finishes over 1600 metres in recent appearances. She is another one stepping up in trip for the first time. Roydon Bergerson Robert Hannam
15 Vancooga 16 Proisir filly Vancooga (NZ) showed little in her first three starts, but she charged home for second over 1400 metres on February 1 and scored a superb win over 1600 metres three weeks later. This is a big test of her class and stamina, but she appears to be a rapidly improving filly. Gavin Sharrock Holly Andrew
16 White Hibiscus 9 A beautifully bred daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, the Mark Forbes-trained White Hibiscus won impressively at New Plymouth earlier in the season. She placed at Matamata on February 2, then finished ninth in the Sunline Vase. Mark Forbes Sam Collett
17 Zipitsweetie 17 Recently purchased by OTI Racing, the Riccarton filly Zipitsweetie (Uncle Mo) was an eye-catching eighth in the Desert Gold Stakes at this venue in January. She has had two starts in the South Island since then, finishing second before scoring a strong last-start win over 1800 metres. Michael & Matthew Pitman Chris Johnson
18 Desert Mirage 13 Improving filly Desert Mirage (NZ) (Roc de Cambes) was a maiden winner in early January. She produced an eye-catching late run for sixth in the Oaks Prelude two starts back, then finished third against older mares over 2100 metres at Pukekohe. Clayton Chipperfield Shaun McKay
19 Kaipaki Road 10 Kaipaki Road (NZ) (El Roca) has tackled the Eight Carat Classic, Royal Stakes and Sunline Vase, making up ground late in each of those races to finish close up behind the placegetters. She requires a scratching to make the Oaks field. Stephen Marsh