Royal Stakes extends Richards’ dominance of 2021-22 NZB Filly of the Year Series

2 January 2022

Self Obsession takes out the Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (200m).

Te Akau Racing trainer Jamie Richards held all of the top four positions on the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series points table heading into Saturday’s sixth leg, the $120,000 Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie – and now, after a hard-fought Royal Stakes victory by Self Obsession (Shocking), he has all of the top five.

Richards has picked up points in every leg of the series so far, starting in the early spring with Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), who placed in the Group Three Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) before winning the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).

The Perfect Pink (NZ) (Savabeel) took over with a triumph in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in mid-November, and since then it has been all about Belle En Rouge (NZ) (Burgundy), who recorded back-to-back wins in December’s Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m) and Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m).

Belle En Rouge topped the table with 19 points heading into the Royal Stakes on New Year’s Day, with The Perfect Pink on 12, Imperatriz on 7.5 and 1000 Guineas placegetter Shepherd’s Delight (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) on 7.

None of those four fillies ran in the Royal Stakes, but the 2000-metre test marked the black-type debut of their stablemate Self Obsession, whose superb performance has seen her join the table in third place with 8 points to her name.

Ridden by Michael McNab, Self Obsession had to work hard for Saturday’s win. After sitting outside the leader for most of the journey, she forged to the front at the home turn and was soon challenged by Princess Lowry (NZ) (Roc De Cambes).

It developed into a desperate duel through the last 200 metres, which Self Obsession dug deep and won by a nose.

“It was very tight, and that other one had us beaten everywhere but the line,” Richards said. “Full credit to our filly though. She is a big staying type that toughed it out.

“I thought she was a filly who would appreciate the step up to 2000 metres, as she is bred to get that sort of trip. She has a big, loping action that allows her to roll along on the speed. It wasn’t easy, she got attacked a fair way out, but she was tough and got it done.”

Bred and raced by the Hong Kong-based David Price, Self Obsession finished third on debut at Tauranga on November 24 before winning at the same venue two weeks later. She has now earned $78,480 in her three-start, two-win career.

Self Obsession was born and raised at Hallmark Stud, and she was orphaned at birth.

“Born and raised on the farm, she has always had a special place in our heart,” Hallmark’s Mark Baker tweeted. “An orphan minutes after birth, she has overcome adversity from day one. That will to succeed was clear to see in the finish today.”

Princess Lowry picked up 4 points for finishing second, moving her into a share of sixth place with a total of 6 points. Third-placed Aquacade (NZ) (Dundeel), another filly on black-type debut, earned 2 points.

The seventh leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series will be the $80,000 Group Three Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on January 29.