Miss Aotearoa (NZ) Draws First Blood in NZB Filly of the Year Series

Monday, September 21, 2020

Miss Aotearoa (NZ) claims the first Leg of the 2020-21 NZB Filly of the Year Series.
Miss Aotearoa (NZ) claims the first Leg of the 2020-21 NZB Filly of the Year Series.

Miss Aotearoa (NZ) (Per Incanto) emerged as a budding star of her generation when the 2020-21 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series kicked off in Saturday’s $70,000 Group Three Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings.

There were nine winners among this year’s particularly talented line-up, with several big reputations and high expectations for the season ahead.

Miss Aotearoa was a last-start winner at Taupo, where placegetters Atishu (NZ) (Savabeel) and Sweet Anna (NZ) (Tavistock) and reaching the lead just past the 200-metre mark.

Those two rivals fought back bravely, with Tokorangi (NZ) (Redwood) flying home to join a four-horse battle to the finish, but Miss Aotearoa held them all out by a neck.

“She’s a filly who feels really good underneath you,” Grylls said. “She had to do it the hard way today from that tricky draw and trapped out wide, but she travelled beautifully underneath me all the way, and she fought it out strongly.”

Miss Aotearoa carries the colours of owner-breeder Tony Rider, who collected further black-type spoils on Saturday when fellow three-year-old filly Shezzacatch (NZ) (Savabeel) won the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m).

By high-quality Little Avondale Stud sire Per Incanto, Miss Aotearoa is a half-sister to stakes winners Oceanex (NZ) (Ocean Park) and Amexed (NZ) (Pentire), along with Group placegetters Marcellina (NZ) (Savabeel) and Digital Fortress (NZ) (Savabeel).

Saturday’s victory gives Miss Aotearoa an early lead in the Filly of the Year Series with 6 points, and Richards believes the best could be yet to come.

“She’s got it all in front of her,” Richards said. “She’s got a good pedigree page and is a really nice sort of filly. We’re looking forward to the future with her, and it’s onwards and upwards from here.

“Tony Rider has been a great supporter of the stable, so it’s lovely to reward him with a stakes-winning filly to eventually join his broodmare band.”

Runner-up Sweet Anna picked up 3 points out of Saturday’s race, while Babylon Berlin earned 1.5 points. Tokorangi was an eye-catching fourth without much luck in the closing stages.

The next stop in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series is a new addition to the series for this year, the $70,000 Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on 24 October. It is likely to be the next stop for Miss Aotearoa, whose main spring goal is the $300,000 Group One Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 14.

“The Soliloquy looks like a really good next target for her, and then hopefully down to Riccarton after that,” Richards said.

View the full 2020-21 Series leaderboard here.