Late Southern Filly Series Cameo for Group 1 Performer

Beyond The Fort (NZ) (Niagara) claims the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes. Photo: Race Images South
Beyond The Fort (NZ) (Niagara) claims the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes. Photo: Race Images South

Beyond The Fort (NZ) (Niagara) made only one appearance during the 2018-19 New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series, but the Group 1 performer made a big impression.

The Waverley filly joined the fray for the final leg of the Series, the $50,000 Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton on Saturday. It was her first start since finishing a gallant second in last month’s $400,000 Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham.

Dropping back down in distance for Saturday’s Warstep, Beyond The Fort sat back in the second half of the field as Sentito (NZ) (Postponed), Guillada (NZ) (Guillotine) and Miss Valencia (NZ) (Ocean Park) showed the way.

Guillada and Miss Valencia went clear in the straight and were joined by Mohaka (NZ) (Nadeem) in what looked like a three-way battle to the finish.

But then Beyond The Fort came flying down the extreme outside, sailing past that trio and powering clear to win by two and a quarter lengths. Mohaka took second, with Miss Valencia third.

Beyond The Fort was ridden by Dylan Turner for trainer Bill Thurlow, who is currently in Sydney with his Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) contender Glory Days (NZ) (Red Giant).

“We were stuck in the Sydney traffic when the race was on at Riccarton,” Thurlow told the NZ Racing Desk.

“Thankfully I had my wife with me, and we managed to watch the race on her phone. The vision wasn’t that great, but the cars around us could probably have heard us cheering as they came down the straight.

“She has the makings of a really good stayer this filly, and she did a great job to win this one. I knew she was probably the best stayer in that line-up and that was how it panned out.

“We had been thinking of the Australasian Oaks (Group 1, 2400m, Morphettville, May 4) for her as long as she comes through this one well. There is also Queensland to consider, but until I get back and see how she is I can’t really say what we will be doing with her.”

Bred and raced by the late Ray Stevens, Beyond The Fort has now had four starts for three wins, a placing and $122,435 in prizemoney.

The Southern Filly Series finishes with a clear winner. Riccarton filly Emily Margaret (NZ) (Pins) won the New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) and NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m), and placed in the NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m), collecting a total of 18 points.

Beyond The Fort shares second place on the table with the NZB Airfreight Stakes winner Secret Allure (NZ) (Zacinto), who finished sixth in Saturday’s Warstep Stakes.

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