Oaks Hopefuls Step Out in Sunline Vase

2 March 2023

NZB saddlecloths
NZB Filly of the Year Series continues at Te Rapa this Saturday.

With the grand finale of the 2022-23 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series looming on the horizon, plenty of potential contenders are coming out to play in Saturday’s penultimate leg – the $100,000 Group Three McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Te Rapa.

This weekend’s race is a key lead-up to the 11th and final leg of the series, the $400,000 Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 18.

While the coveted title of New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year is now out of reach, with Legarto (NZ) (Proisir) holding an unassailable lead with 26 points, the Oaks is an enormously prestigious race in its own right, and a full field of fillies will line up at Te Rapa on Saturday in an attempt to secure their place in that 2400-metre classic.

The Sunline Vase line-up contains a mixture of proven and emerging talent, with stakes-placed fillies Sedaka (NZ) (Savabeel), Sakura Girl (NZ) (Iffraaj), Safura (NZ) (Almanzor) and The Woman King (NZ) (Sacred Falls) joined by many others who have been impressive recent winners in lower grades.

Worth 6 Filly of the Year Series points to the winner, along with 3 for second and 1.5 for third, the McKee Family Sunline Vase will be run as Race 7 at Te Rapa on Saturday. Its scheduled start time is 4.12pm.

1 Sedaka 17 Syndicators Go Racing paid $125,000 to buy Sedaka (NZ) (Savabeel) from last year's Valachi Downs Unreserved Young & Racing Stock Dispersal on Gavelhouse Plus.  The Stephen Marsh-trained filly has quickly shown bright promise, collecting a win and three placings including a second in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year's Day. She was a last-start sixth on an unsuitable wet track in the Group Two Waikato Guineas (2000m).    
2 Mischief Managed 1 Making the longer-than-usual journey south from Ruakaka, promising filly Mischief Managed (NZ) (Derryn) will line up in Saturday's race in the colours of owner Sue Martin. She scored back-to-back wins in December and January in a maiden sprint and a 1400-metre Rating 65. She stepped up to 1600 metres last start and produced a strong late run, hinting that extra distance this weekend may suit. Mischief Managed was a $20,000 purchase from Book 2 of Karaka 2021. Karaka 2021, Book 2 MJ & TT Stratford, $20,000
3 Imarichgirl 4 Since winning a maiden by more than three lengths at Avondale in November, Imarichgirl (NZ) (Mongolian Khan) has performed solidly in stakes company. She was a highly creditable fourth in the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) on December 17, then was badly blocked in the straight when ninth in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year's Day. She was freshened after that and returned to action with a fourth over 1500 metres on February 18. Karaka 2021, Book 1 Psd, Res $80,000
4 Sakura Girl 8 Sakura Girl (NZ) (Iffraaj) was a $260,000 purchase from the 2021 Ready to Run Sale. She won on debut in October, then ran sixth in the Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m), fifth in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m) and a highly creditable last-start second in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m). 2021 Ready to Run Sale Upper Bloodstock, $260,000
5 The Woman King 3 The Woman King (NZ) (Sacred Falls) is a three-quarter-sister to the outstanding Macau performer Sacred Capital (NZ) (O'Reilly). She was bought for only $7,100 as a weanling and has already earned black-type, finishing a close last-start second in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth. 2020 National Weanling Sale Stirling Bloodstock, $7,100
6 Fabulous Gal 21 A maiden winner at Matamata in January, Fabulous Gal (NZ) (Fabulous) stepped into stakes class with an eighth in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m). She showed significant improvement when she stepped up to 2100 metres at Pukekohe on February 18, finishing strongly for second despite an interrupted run down the straight.    
7 Safura 9 The well-related Safura (NZ) is by Almanzor out of the Group One-performed Corsage (NZ) (Volksraad). Safura placed in three of her first six starts, including an eye-catching third in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m). She then romped to an easy maiden win by two and a half lengths, and in her only start since then, a slow start proved costly as she came home in sixth in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m).    
8 Sassyness 11 Sassyness (NZ) (Sacred Falls) was a maiden winner at Tauranga in December, then went straight into the big leagues with a sixth in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (2000m) and an unplaced finish after an energy-sapping wide run in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m). In her only appearance since then, she was a close second in a 1600-metre race at Hastings on February 10.    
9 Burgundy Iff 2 Consistent performer Burgundy Iff (NZ) (Burgundy) has finished in the top four in all of her last five starts, dating all of the way back to November. The most recent of those was the most impressive, producing a strong finish out of the pack to win a 1600-metre maiden at Te Rapa on January 18.    
10 Elegant Lady 10 After struggling on heavy ground on debut, Elegant Lady (NZ) (Highly Recommended) has improved markedly in her four subsequent starts. She picked up two second placings in a row, then ran on strongly from last for a close fifth in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m). Dropping back to maiden company on February 17, she scored a convincing win over 1900 metres.    
11 Marvelouz 12 A close relative of quality Australian performer Annavisto (NZ) (Reliable Man), the Almanzor filly Marvelouz (NZ) was a $380,000 purchase from Karaka 2021. She was a smart maiden winner at Taupo on February 7, and she has been a model of consistency with three seconds, a fourth and a fifth from her other five starts. Karaka 2021, Book 1 DC Ellis, $380,000
12 Sacred Dream 7 Sacred Dream (NZ) (Sacred Falls) was a maiden winner at this course in January, having previously shown promise with top-five finishes in four of her previous five starts. She has had only one race since then, finishing a commendable fourth in the Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m).    
13 Sea The Light 6 Sea The Light (NZ) (Astern) defied 90-to-one odds for a shock maiden win in the second start of her career on November 1, but she has since proved that it was no fluke. She ran fourth in the Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial (1500m) in her next appearance, then fifth at Te Rapa, seventh in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m) despite laying in down the straight, and a last-start fifth in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m). Karaka 2021, Book 1 JG Ross, $50,000
14 Amberarna 13 Although she was disappointing at New Plymouth last start, there was merit in the earlier form of Amberarna (NZ) (Complacent), including a strong maiden win over 1600 metres at this track on February 3.    
15 Kaaptivating 20 Kaaptivating (NZ) (Press Statement) has been admirably consistent, recording a win and five placings from eight starts to date. She is making a big step up in distance here, having scored a maiden win over 1550 metres at Cambridge on February 16. Karaka 2021, Book 1 DB Eagle, $35,000
16 Kaidu's Pride 15 There is no doubting the stamina of Kaidu's Pride (NZ) (Mongolian Khan), who won a 2000-metre maiden at Taupo convincingly despite racing three wide without cover for a large portion of the race. She had placed in two of her previous five starts over shorter trips, and she was seventh in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m). Karaka 2021, Book 2 Kakapo Lodge, $11,000
17 Three Ninety 16 Three Ninety (NZ) (Per Incanto) scored her maiden win on this track in December. Since then, she has finished sixth in a strong field at Pukekohe, last in a star-studded $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), and a late-finishing eighth over 1600 metres at Te Rapa on February 11. Karaka 2021, Book 2 Phill Cataldo Bloodstock, $60,000
18 Cheval D'Or 5 Keepa Cheval (NZ) (Almanzor) has yet to put a foot wrong in her career, placing in every start so far. She started her career with two thirds over 1400 metres, then stepped up to 1600 metres and produced a big finish to run second at Te Rapa on February 11. Karaka 2021, Book 1 The Oaks Stud/Pike Racing, $420,000
19 Savacat 19 Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Rogerson has a big opinion of Savacat (NZ) (Savabeel), who has run strong-finishing placings in all of her three starts so far. The most recent of those was over this course and distance on February 3, where she unleashed an eye-catching late run out of the pack.    
20 Glitzabella 18 Glitzabella (NZ) (Turn Me Loose) caught the eye with a big run for second in a maiden race at Hastings on January 26, then stepped up to Group Two level but was unplaced in the David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa.    
21 Pure Delight 14 A last-start eighth in the Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m), talented filly Pure Delight (NZ) (Darci Brahma) requires five scratchings to get a start in this race. Karaka 2021, Book 1 CW Gibbs, $80,000