Southern Filly of the Year

An evenly contested 2022-23 New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series came to a close in Saturday’s $65,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton, where She’s A Con (NZ) (Contributer) became the fourth different winner in the four-race series, but multiple placegetter Luella Cristina (Snitzel) took the overall crown.

Luella Cristina (Snitzel) after the final leg of the Southern Filly of the Year Series

But it was series newcomer She’s A Con who stole the show, taking a big step up in class from a last-start maiden success at Riverton. 

The Warstep Stakes was her first attempt at 2000 metres and she relished the test of stamina, outfinishing a gallant Luella Cristina in a desperate duel down the straight and winning by half a length.

“I knew she would be tough enough, and we just needed that little bit of luck to go our way,” said co-trainer Kelvin Tyler, whose brother Allan and sister-in-law Marie race the filly.

“When I was sorting out the team for the day, I really did think she was our best chance, and that’s how it played out. I also knew the 2000 metres wouldn’t bother her, because she was wide and did it tough over the mile last time and got the win. All we wanted was to be off the rail and to try and come with the last run at them.

“We normally don’t go home to Riverton until the Sunday after a Riccarton meeting, so we might have to celebrate a little tonight.

“We haven’t got any real plans for this filly, and now she has some black type under her belt it is pretty satisfying.

“She has the makings of a nice horse. She had already run well in some good fields, and the one thing we know about her is she won’t lie down in a tight finish.”

She’s A Con has now had seven starts for two wins, three placings and $54,190 in stakes.

Saturday’s Warstep Stakes win earned her 7 points in the NZB Southern Filly Series, bringing her level with the previous co-leaders One Kiss, Romancing The Moon and Miss Layla.

However, they were all leapfrogged by Luella Cristina. The Cambridge filly went into the race with 4 points, courtesy of her last-start second in the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m). She earned another 4 points with her runner-up finish on Saturday, clinching the Southern Filly crown.

Luella Cristina is bred and raced by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock Ltd, and she is by champion Australian sire Snitzel out of the multiple Group One-winning mare Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel).

From six starts, Luella Cristina has now recorded two wins and three black-type placings, including a third in last month’s Group One Levin Classic (1600m). The Stephen Marsh-trained filly has earned $73,230.

The NZB Southern Filly of the Year trophy will be presented to Luella Cristina’s connections at the South Island Awards in September. They will also receive an insurance policy from NZB Insurance to the value of $50,000 plus GST.

2022-23 NZB Southern Filly of the Year Series Schedule

Date Race Name Stake Dist. Club Winner
16/09/23 L. New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes $65,000 1200m Canterbury JC Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard)
02/03/24 L. NZB Insurance Sakes $65,000 1400m Otago RC  
13/04/24 L. NZB Airfreight Stakes $65,000 1600m Canterbury JC  
20/04/24 L. New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes $65,000 2000m Canterbury JC  


Points Table 

Viva Vienna (NZ) (All Too Hard x Anna of Austria) 7 1st Leg 1
Illicit Dreams (NZ) (Vancouver x Illicit Romance) 4 2nd Leg 1
Warning Signal (NZ) (U S Navy Flag x La Veuve) 2 3rd Leg 1

Points Available

Listed 7 4 2