Oaks a Fitting Finale to Thrilling NZB Filly of the Year Series
18 March 2021
Dozens of fillies have lined up for their shot at New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year glory throughout an exciting 2020-21 Series, but now only two remain with a chance of securing the coveted title in its final leg – Saturday’s $400,000 Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.
The first of those contenders is long-time Series leader Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel). Bought for $300,000 by David Ellis from the draft of Waikato Stud at Karaka 2019, the super-talented filly has had three starts in the NZB Filly of the Year Series for three wins – the Group Two Jamieson Park Eight Carat Classic (1600m), Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) and Group Three McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m).
That trio of victories earned Amarelinha a clear lead on the Filly of the Year Series table with 22 points. If she collects any further points in Saturday’s Oaks – which is worth 12 points to the winner, 7 for second and 3.5 for third – Amarelinha will comfortably clinch the Filly of the Year title.
But if Amarelinha is unplaced in the Oaks, Needle and Thread (Makfi) could move past her with a victory at Trentham. Needle and Thread currently sits in third on the table with 13 points, just behind second-placed Kahma Lass (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who has 15 points but is not running in the Oaks.
Bred and raced by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, Needle and Thread scored a fitting and dominant victory in the Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year’s Day. She then placed behind Amarelinha in the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic and the Sunline Vase, and in the latter race, the margin between them was a mere nose.
Victory in the Oaks would lift Needle and Thread to 25 points, meaning Amarelinha would need to finish either second or third to remain ahead of her on the table.
While Amarelinha and Needle and Thread are the only two potential winners of the Filly of the Year title, there are many other quality contenders for Saturday’s Oaks.
Llanacord (NZ) (Contributer) has won her last two in a row including the Group Two Little Avondale Stud Lowland Stakes (2100m), while Charms Star (NZ) (Per Incanto) charged home late for a close second in that Hastings feature earlier this month.
Zee Falls (NZ) (Sacred Falls) and Spine Tingle (NZ) (Super Easy) have both won at black-type level this season, while Slave to Love (NZ) (Savabeel), Il Affare (NZ) (Dundeel), Dragon Queen (NZ) (Sweynesse), Canuhandleajandal (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) and Cheaperthandivorce (NZ) (Savabeel) have all been stakes-placed. In her most recent appearance, Il Affare also finished a gallant fourth in the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m).
The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks will be run as Race 8 at Trentham on Saturday, with a start time of 4:55pm.
|1||Amarelinha||12||Bought for $300,000 at Karaka 2019 by Te Akau Racing's David Ellis, Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel) has been a clear standout filly through the second half of the NZB Filly of the Year Series. She is undefeated in three starts in Filly of the Year Series races, winning the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m), Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic and Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m). During that time, she was also narrowly beaten by star male three-year-old Aegon (NZ) (Sacred Falls) in a superb two-horse battle in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m). Amarelinha leads the Filly of the Year Series with 22 points.||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||Karaka 2019, Book 1, purchased by David Ellis for $300,000|
|2||Needle and Thread||4||A full-sister to Group One performer and sire Savile Row (NZ) (Makfi), talented filly Needle and Thread (Makfi) has been a major player in the NZB Filly of the Year Series over the past couple of months. She romped to a four-length victory in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m), then ran third behind Amarelinha in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m). She came close to turning the tables on that rival in this month's Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m), opening up a big break in the straight before being pipped by a nose right on the finish line. Currently third on the table with 13 points, Needle and Thread is now the only filly who can beat Amarelinha in the NZB Filly of the Year Series.||Stephen Autridge & Kris Shailer||Craig Grylls|
|3||Slave to Love||13||An impressive winner at Ellerslie in December and Pukekohe in January, Slave to Love (NZ) (Savabeel) also ran sixth in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and second in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m). She was a disappointing ninth last start in the Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m), but that performance was put down to the rain-affected track. Slave to Love has 4 NZB Filly of the Year Series points.||Peter & Dawn Williams||Ashvin Goindasamy|
|4||Zee Falls||11||Sacred Falls filly Zee Falls (NZ) has produced a pair of bold performances against male three-year-olds this season, winning the Group Three Wellington Stakes (1600m) in November and finishing second in the Group Two Waikato Guineas (2000m) in February. She was also a close fourth in the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on March 3. Zee Falls was a $130,000 purchase by Marsh Racing at Karaka 2019.||Stephen Marsh||Lisa Allpress||Karaka 2019, Book 1, purchased by Marsh Racing for $130,000|
|5||Il Affare||15||Since winning in maiden and Rating 65 grade in October, Il Affare (NZ) (Dundeel) has finished sixth in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m), third in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m), fourth in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m), sixth in the Group Two Avondale Guineas (2100m) and fourth in the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m). She has 2 NZB Filly of the Year Series points.||Peter & Dawn Williams||Johnathan Parkes|
|6||Llanacord||9||Llanacord (NZ) (Contributer) picked up only a couple of third placings from six starts over distances up to 1800 metres, but she has been a revelation since stepping up over more ground. She scored an eight-length maiden win over 2040 metres at Wanganui on February 19, then stepped up to stakes level and won the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on March 3. She cost just $15,000 at Karaka 2019, bought by Kevin Hopson from the draft of Mapperley Stud. Llanacord is currently fourth in NZB Filly of the Year Series standings with 8 points.||Stephen Nickalls||Leah Hemi||Karaka 2019, Book 2, purchased by Mr KE Hopson for $15,000|
|7||Charms Star||8||Purchased for $65,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2019, Charms Star (NZ) (Per Incanto) was a three-length maiden winner at Wanganui in January. She has also run fifth in the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m), sixth in the Group Three Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and a big-finishing second in her most recent appearance in the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m). She has 4 NZB Filly of the Year Series points.||Lisa Latta||Sam Weatherley||Karaka 2019, Book 2, purchased by Lisa Latta Racing for $65,000|
|8||Dragon Queen||2||Sweynesse filly Dragon Queen (NZ) was bought for $50,000 from Book 3 of Karaka 2019 by the New Zealand Chinese Jockey Club and Paul Moroney Bloodstock. Dragon Queen was a creditable fifth in the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) last season, which she has followed up this season with a maiden win, a seventh in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), fourth in the Group Two Auckland Guineas (1600m), sixth in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), and a last-start third in the Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m). She has earned 1.5 NZB Filly of the Year points.||Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard||Taiki Yanagida||Karaka 2019, Book 3, purchased by the New Zealand Chinese Jockey Club and Paul Moroney Bloodstock for $50,000|
|9||Canuhandleajandal||1||Canuhandleajandal (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) has been a consistent performer for Kylie Bax's Flip Flop Syndicate, with six starts to date for a win, a second, a third and two fourths. She proved herself at stakes level in her most recent start, finishing less than a length from the winner when third in the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m). She has 2 NZB Filly of the Year Series points.||Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall||Kozzi Asano|
|10||Spine Tingle||10||Passed in with a $20,000 reserve in Book 2 of Karaka 2019, Spine Tingle (NZ) (Super Easy) has scored two impressive victories in her four-start career to date. Racing in the colours of owner-breeders the Llanhennock Trust, Spine Tingle bounded away from her opposition for a four-length victory in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth in early February.||Chris Gibbs||Chris Johnson||Karaka 2019, Book 2, Passed In|
|11||Cheaperthandivorce||3||By Savabeel out of the New Zealand Oaks winner Boundless (NZ) (Van Nistelrooy), Cheaperthandivorce (NZ) boasts exceptional pedigree credentials. She was a brilliant debut winner at Rotorua in December, and has since finished second in the Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m), sixth in the Group Two Waikato Guineas (2000m) and an eye-catching, fast-finishing sixth in the Group Two Lowland Stakes (2100m).||Roger James & Robert Wellwood||Danielle Johnson|
|12||Beautifulnightmare||10||Contributer filly Beautifulnightmare (NZ) won a 2000-metre maiden race at Matamata in January, and she has been making up late ground when eighth in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m) and Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m) in her two subsequent appearances.||Chris Gibbs||Samantha Wynne|
|13||Carolina Reaper||13||Costing just $12,000 in Book 2 of Karaka 2019, Carolina Reaper (NZ) (Vespa) scored a three-length maiden win at Te Rapa in January and has followed that up with solid finishes for fifth in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) and sixth in the Group Three Sunline Vase (2100m).||Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall||Michael McNab||Karaka 2019, Book 2, purchased by Richardson Racing Stables for $12,000|
|14||Lovettorleaveit||14||Lovettorleaveit (NZ) (Roc de Cambes) cleared maiden grade with an impressive performance in heavy ground in the spring, and her three subsequent starts include a solid last-start fourth over 2040 metres at Wanganui.||Clayton Chipperfield||Hazel Schofer|
|15||Kaluanui||5||Sacred Falls filly Kaluanui (NZ) was a $15,000 purchase from Book 2 of Karaka 2019. She is still a maiden, but she has placed in five of her 10 starts to date.||John Bary||Darryl Bradley||Karaka 2019, Book 2, purchased by Phill Cataldo Bloodstock / John Bary Racing for $15,000|