NZB Filly of the Year Series Heads to Pukekohe
23 December 2022
The Boxing Day races have been a mainstay on Auckland’s summer calendar for 160 years, but with Ellerslie undergoing a major track renovation, the iconic fixture is about to be staged by Pukekohe Park for the first time – which also marks the South Auckland track’s debut in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series.
The star-studded programme usually held at Ellerslie on Boxing Day contains four black-type features, including the fifth leg of the prestigious NZB Filly of the Year Series – the $150,000 Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m), which is worth a crucial 8 points for the winner, with 4 for second and 2 for third.
The venue may be different for the 2022 edition on Monday, but the Eight Carat Classic’s renowned quality is as strong as ever.
Top billing belongs to New Zealand’s undisputed leading filly of her generation so far, Legarto (NZ) (Proisir). The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained superstar has been a brilliant winner of all of her four starts, including the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), and she leads the NZB Filly of the Year Series with 18 points.
The other runner in the field with NZB Filly of the Year Series points already to her name is Librarsi (NZ) (Reliable Man), who earned 3 points with her last-start second placing in the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on December 17.
Val Di Zoldo (NZ) (War Decree) was a Group Three placegetter as a two-year-old last season, while Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) placed at Listed level in the early spring. Five other fillies in this well-credentialled field have been recent winners.
The Eight Carat Classic will be run as Race 6 at Pukekohe on Boxing Day, with a start time of 3.43pm.
|Legarto (NZ) (Proisir) is one of New Zealand's most exciting racehorses, stringing together four increasingly impressive victories from the four appearances of her career to date. After a maiden victory at Matamata in June, she charged home to win at Te Rapa on September 30 and delivered a repeat performance in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at the same venue three weeks later. In her only start since then, she came from off the pace and blew her rivals away by four and three-quarter lengths in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). The Ken and Bev Kelso-trained filly tops the NZB Filly of the Year Series table with 18 points. Bought for $90,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2021, she has so far earned $302,845 in stakes - more than all of her Eight Carat Classic rivals combined.
|Karaka 2021, Book 2
|Ancroft Stud, $90,000
|Ken & Bev Kelso
|Taranaki visitor Librarsi (NZ) (Reliable Man) has been a model of consistency, finishing in the top four in all but one of her five starts so far. The most recent of those was the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on December 3, where she earned 3 NZB Filly of the Year Series points with a gallant second placing.
|2021 Ready to Run Sale
|Psd, Res $50,000
|Bought for $150,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2021, Wessex (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) has made her mark on the track with eight starts for two wins, two placings and a fourth. She was a close third in the Listed Fillies' Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui in early September, and she ran second at Trentham on December 3 in her only appearance since then.
|Karaka 2021, Book 1
|CW Kwok/A Forsman, $150,000
|After a second and two thirds in her first five starts, Imarichgirl (NZ) (Mongolian Khan) has rapidly risen to prominence over the last few weeks. She flew home from last to win by more than three lengths in a maiden race at Avondale, then joined the NZB Filly of the Year Series with a gritty fourth in the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m).
|Karaka 2021, Book 1
|Psd, Res $80,000
|Nana's Wish (NZ) (Belardo) has been a big improver over increasing distances this spring, starting with a fourth over 970 metres on debut at Cambridge in late September. Another fourth followed over 1200 metres, then a slashing late run to win over 1400 metres, and then another barnstorming finish for second over 1400 metres at Ruakaka on December 14.
|Peter & Dawn Williams
|Unplaced in her two starts as a two-year-old last season, Sassyness (NZ) (Sacred Falls) looks a different filly at three. She finished strongly for third at Rotorua in mid-November, then broke through for an emphatic maiden win over 1600 metres at Tauranga.
|Waikato Stud homebred Skew Wiff (NZ) (Savabeel) has plenty of pedigree credentials, being by champion sire Savabeel out of stakes-winning mare Starvoia (Starcraft). The Mark Walker-trained filly has shown promise on the track too, scoring a maiden win in October and making up good late ground after a disastrously slow start in the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).
|Val Di Zoldo
|Val Di Zoldo (NZ) (War Decree) was bought for $285,000 from the Valachi Downs Unreserved Young & Racing Stock Dispersal on Gavelhouse Plus earlier this year. Although she is still a maiden, the Tony Pike-trained filly has placed in five of her seven starts including the Group Three 2YO Classic (1200m). She also finished fourth in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) in October.
|Tivaci filly Bella Tivaci (NZ) scored a smart maiden win at Avondale in late November, and she followed it up with an eye-catching late run over 1400 metres at Ruakaka on December 14.
|Karaka 2021, Book 2
|Stuart Hale & Co, $30,000
|By Vadamos out of Group One-placed mare Mill Duckie (NZ) (Magic Ring), promising filly Shez Class (NZ) was a $23,000 purchase from the 2020 National Weanling Sale. She has placed in three of her six starts so far and also finished a close fourth in last season's Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) at this track.
|2020 National Weanling Sale
|Cypress Point Farms, $23,000
|The best may be yet to come for Kaidu's Pride (NZ) (Mongolian Khan), who has been doing her best work at the end of all of her three starts so far. She came from last to run ninth over 1200 metres on debut, then made up good late ground for second and fifth in two starts over 1400 metres. She may be suited to longer distances than this.
|Karaka 2021, Book 2
|Kakapo Lodge, $11,000
|Just A Karin
|Unplaced in both of her first two starts, Just A Karin (NZ) (Mongolian Khan) showed significant improvement to place at Tauranga earlier this month. She can be expected to continue to improve with more time and increasing distances.
|Bred and raced by Novara Park principal Luigi Muollo, Quick Story (NZ) (What's The Story) was unplaced in her only previous start and faces a difficult task here in only the second race of her career.