NZB Filly of the Year a Key Feature of Ellerslie’s Big Comeback

23 December 2021

2020 Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) winner and 2020-21 NZB Filly of the Year Series victor, Amarelinha (NZ).

New Zealand’s flagship racecourse is about to roar back to life after a six-month hiatus, and two stellar days of Christmas Carnival racing at Ellerslie will feature two legs of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series – starting on Boxing Day with the $120,000 Group Two Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic (1600m). 

Ellerslie’s last race meeting was in early June, and all of its scheduled fixtures through the early part of the season were relocated to other tracks due to the COVID-19 Delta outbreak. There could be no better way to celebrate racing’s return to Auckland than the traditional Boxing Day meeting, of which the Eight Carat has become a pivotal part.

Run as the fifth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, the Eight Carat Classic has delivered decades of high-quality contests, with its roll of honour from the last 25 years including the Group One winners Champagne (NZ) (Zabeel), La Bella Dama (NZ) (Desert Sun), Vapour Trail (NZ) (Jetball), Veloce Bella (NZ) (Volksraad), Katie Lee (Pins), Planet Rock (Fastnet Rock), Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge), and the two most recent winners, Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) and Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel).

This year’s field is headed by Belle En Rouge (NZ) (Burgundy), who has already earned 11 points in the NZB Filly of the Year Series so far, having won this month’s Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) after placing in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).

Belle En Rouge currently sits in second place on the points table, just 1 point behind stablemate The Perfect Pink (NZ) (Savabeel), who won the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton last month.

Mustang Valley (NZ) (Vanbrugh) heads into Sunday’s Eight Carat Classic with 3 points to her name, having finished second in the Group Three Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) in September. She ran fifth in both the Soliloquy Stakes and the 1000 Guineas.

Flash Mary (NZ) (El Roca) has been Listed-placed twice in her seven-start career, while the likes of Karman Line (NZ) (Myboycharlie), Lady Koval (American Pharoah), Verona (NZ) (Belardo) and Social Distance (NZ) (Savabeel) have scored impressive victories in lower grades.

The Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic is worth 8 points to the winner, with 4 points for second and 2 for third.

It will be run as Race 5 on Ellerslie’s star-studded Boxing Day card, with a start time of 2.44pm.

1 Belle En Rouge 9 Burgundy filly Belle En Rouge (NZ) represents the same owner, trainer and jockey combination as last year's impressive Eight Carat winner Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel), who went on to claim the NZB Filly of the Year title. Belle En Rouge has been super consistent through the early stages of this season's series, winning the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) and placing in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).     Jamie Richards Opie Bosson
2 Mustang Valley 5 An impressive winner at Te Rapa as a late two-year-old, Mustang Valley (NZ) (Vanbrugh) has stepped up to stakes class this season with a second in the Group Three Gold Trail Stakes (1200m), fifth in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) and fifth in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).      Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Vinnie Colgan
3 Flash Mary 1 Flash Mary (NZ) (El Roca) was bought for less than $10,000 at last year's South Island Sale and has earned almost $50,000 in stakes, winning two of her seven starts along with placings in the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) and last month's Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial (1500m). 2020 South Island Sale Bee Cee, $9250 Debbie Sweeney Danielle Johnson
4 Karman Line 8 Bought for $67,500 from Book 2 of Karaka 2020, Karman Line (NZ) (Myboycharlie) has made a big impression with flying finishes to win on debut at Te Aroha on November 9 and place at Te Rapa a month later. The lightly-raced filly is held in high regard by Matamata trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott. Karaka 2020, Book 2 Wexford Stables, $67,500 Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott Craig Grylls
5 Lady Koval 4 A daughter of US Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, promising filly Lady Koval has recorded a win and a third placing from a three-start career to date.     Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Leith Innes
6 Verona 2 Verona (NZ) (Belardo) was an $8000 purchase from Book 3 of Karaka 2020. She won easily on debut at Te Aroha in late October, then was unplaced on a rain-affected track at Tauranga in November in her only other start. Karaka 2020, Book 3 Cypress Point Farms, $8000 Jenna Mahoney Ashvin Goindasamy
7 Social Distance 6 Passed in at Karaka 2020, Savabeel filly Social Distance (NZ) placed in only one of her first four starts, but then took a big step forward at Rotorua this month with a strong maiden victory over 1560 metres. Karaka 2020, Book 1 Psd, Res $120,000 Stephen Marsh Sam Weatherley
8 Princess Lowry 7 Princess Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes) is a full-sister to the emerging stayer Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes), who has won three races and placed in this month's Group Three Waikato Cup (2400m). Princess Lowry has had only one start to date, producing a strong finish from the back of the field to run third over 1400 metres at Tauranga on December 10.     Team Rogerson Ryan Elliot
9 The High Priestess 3 The High Priestess (NZ) is by Reliable Man out of the Group Two winner and three-time Group One placegetter Postmans Daughter (NZ) (Postponed).  The High Priestess made her debut at Te Rapa just last week, finishing close up in sixth.     Don Walker Kozzi Asano