NZB Filly of the Year Contenders Face First Stamina Test

Hello It's Me (NZ) (Darci Brahma) winning the 2018 edition of the Group 2 Royal Stakes at Ellerslie.
Hello It's Me (NZ) (Darci Brahma) winning the 2018 edition of the Group 2 Royal Stakes at Ellerslie.

The New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series extends beyond 1600 metres for the first time with the running of the fifth leg, the $100,000 Group 2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.

It comes just six days after the fourth leg, the $100,000 Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at the same venue on Boxing Day. A number of the major players in that event are lining up for a rematch in the Royal Stakes, including the winner Pinmedown (NZ) (Pins), runner-up House Of Cartier (Alamosa) and fourth-placed Musical Blues (Rip Van Winkle).

Newcomers include the Group 1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) fourth placegetter Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto) and the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1550m) runner-up Elate (NZ) (Savabeel).

The striking white filly Luminous (NZ) (Reliable Man) is still a maiden but has produced eye-catching finishing bursts in her two starts over shorter distances.

The winner of the Royal Stakes will receive 8 points in the NZB Filly of the Year Series, with 4 for second and 2 for third.

Media Sensation (I Am Invincible) retains the Filly of the Year Series lead with 12 points, but Pinmedown is well within striking distance on 8 points. Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) shares second spot with 8 points.

House Of Cartier and Elate have 4 and 3 points respectively and could make a significant move up the leader board with strong performances in the Royal Stakes.

The Valachi Downs Royal Stakes will be run as Race 5 on Tuesday with a start time of 3:08pm.

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Pinmedown 9 Lightly raced filly Pinmedown (NZ) (Pins) made a huge step up on Boxing Day from maiden winner to Group 2 winner, storming home from last for an upset victory in the Eight Carat Classic (1600m). Bought for $28,000 at Karaka, she is a three-quarter-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Ambitious Dragon (NZ) (Pins). She has won two of her four starts. Mike Moroney & Pam Gerard Jake Bayliss
2 House of Cartier 3 Another runner taking the big step up from maiden grade, House of Cartier (Alamosa) lived up to her blue-blooded pedigree with a strong-finishing second in the Eight Carat. A daughter of the multiple Group 1 winner Shez Sinsational (NZ) (Ekraar), House of Cartier has won one from four so far. Nigel Tiley Leith Innes
3 Secret Allure 7 A stakes winner last season, Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto) measured up against some of this season's very best with a close fourth in the Group 1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). The race was not run to suit when she finished eighth in the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1550m) last start. Lisa Latta Jonathan Riddell
4 Elate 11 An impressive winner at Taupo earlier this season, Elate (NZ) (Savabeel) stepped up to stakes level with a big finish for second in the Eulogy Stakes last start. Roger James & Robert Wellwood Ryan Elliot
5 Musical Blues 2 Musical Blues (Rip Van Winkle) began her career with a win at Pukekohe, and after an unplaced finish in her second start she has picked up a second placing at Ellerslie and a close fourth in the Eight Carat Classic. Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott
6 Imelda Mary 4 Talented filly Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax) finally won her first race last start at Matamata, but her previous 11 starts featured close-up finishes in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m), the Karaka Million (1200m) and the Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas. Wayne Hillis Rosie Myers
7 Initiative 10 Bred and raced by The Oaks Stud, Initiative (NZ) is by Reliable Man out of their multiple stakes-winning mare Innovation (NZ) (Keeper). She has had seven starts to date, winning the most recent with a dominant performance at Rotorua on December 27. Lisa Anderson Andrew Calder
8 Rip Em Up 12 Rip Em Up (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) began her career with eye-catching placings against the likes of the Group 1 performers Dawn Patrol (NZ) (Dawn Approach) and Valalie (Snitzel). After a couple of disappointments, she returned to form with a placing and a close sixth in the Eight Carat Classic. Stephen Marsh Shafiq Rusof
9 Van Irving 13 Rip Van Winkle filly Van Irving (NZ) has had a win and a placing from her five starts to date, and she finished ninth in the Eight Carat Classic. Stephen Marsh Matthew Cameron
10 Luminous 6 The only white horse likely to be seen on a New Zealand racetrack this season, Luminous (NZ) (Reliable Man) has had two starts for two fast-finishing placings over 1400 and 1600 metres. Jamie Richards Opie Bosson
11 Melarita 5 Melarita (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) is a full-sister to the budding superstar Te Akau Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle). She has had three starts, finishing ninth on debut before placing in the other two. Darrell Hollinshead Sam Collett
12 Iridessa 1 Eurozone filly Iridessa (NZ) has had five starts, the most recent being a placing over this distance at Hastings. Mike Moroney & Pam Gerard Shaun McKay
13 Clementina 8 Clementina (NZ) (Savabeel) has had just two appearances to date, running on late for fourth on debut and a last-start fifth at Tauranga. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Jason Waddell

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