Star-Studded Gold Trail Kicks off NZB Filly of the Year Series

2018/2019 joint Series winners Imelda Mary (NZ) and Queen of Diamonds (NZ)
2018/2019 joint Series winners Imelda Mary (NZ) and Queen of Diamonds (NZ)

The stage is set for some early fireworks in the 2019-20 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, with a high-quality field assembled for Saturday’s first leg, the $70,000 Group 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings.

Now in its 48th year, the Series showcases New Zealand’s elite three-year-old fillies across 10 Group races between September and March.

The fillies are tested over distances ranging from 1200 to 2400 metres, collecting points in each of the 10 races before the title of Filly of the Year is awarded to the most outstanding filly of her year in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year winner immediately becomes a highly valuable breeding proposition and earns her connections $50,000 in bonus cheques including $10,000 for her breeder, $10,000 for her trainer and $30,000 for her owner.

Saturday’s opening leg is worth 6 Filly of the Year Series points to the winner, with 3 for second and 1.5 for third.

The field features a Group 2 winner from last season in Aretha (NZ) (Charm Spirit), along with stakes winners Bavella (Snitzel) and Riva Capri (NZ) (Atlante).

Appellant (NZ) (Showcasing), Hasstobegood (NZ) (Per Incanto), Trifolium (Krupt), Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) and Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice) have all been stakes-placed, while First Rock (NZ) (El Roca) was fifth in a Group 1 as a two-year-old.

Birdsong (NZ) (Snitzel), On Show (NZ) (Showcasing), Ruby Negroni (NZ) (Rios), Shoshone (NZ) (Sacred Falls) and The Tailor’s Niece (NZ) (Showcasing) have all been impressive winners in lower grades.

The winner of Saturday’s Gold Trail Stakes will top the Filly of the Year Series table until at least November 16, when the prestigious $300,000 Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) is run at Riccarton with 12 points available to the winner.

The Gold Trail Stakes will be run as Race 6 on Saturday with a start time of 3:20pm.

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Aretha 4 The best-performed filly in this year's field, Aretha (NZ) (Charm Spirit) won or placed in all of her four starts last season. She finished third on debut in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m), then won the Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) before placing in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m). She has had two recent trials for a win and a placing. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Matthew Cameron
2 Appellant 13 Appellant (NZ) (Showcasing) had six starts last season, winning a $50,000 race at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and placing in another three including the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) and the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m). Stephen Marsh Danielle Johnson
3 Bavella 15 Classy and well-bred filly Bavella (Snitzel) won two races last season including the Listed Splice Construction 2YO Stakes (1100m), and she also finished fourth in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m). She was a dominant winner of a recent trial at Cambridge. Lance Noble Leith Innes
4 Riva Capri 6 After finishing second on debut at this course in July, Riva Capri (NZ) (Atlante) stepped up to stakes level for her second start and won the Listed O'Learys Fillies' Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui - becoming the first stakes winner for her sire. She is now attempting to follow in the footsteps of eventual Filly of the Year Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy), who completed the Fillies' Stakes-Gold Trail Stakes double two years ago. Guy Lowry & Grant Cullen Craig Grylls
5 Hasstobegood 9 While she is still a maiden after three starts, Hasstobegood (NZ) (Per Incanto) showed quality last season with placings in all of her appearances including the Group 3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth. Roger James & Robert Wellwood Ryan Elliot
6 Trifolium 2 Trifolium (Krupt) made a big impression with an easy debut win at Riccarton in April, beating subsequent stakes winner All About Magic (NZ) (Showcasing). In her only other start, Trifolium was a close second to Riva Capri in the Fillies' Stakes. Fraser Auret Lisa Allpress
7 Kali 7 Darci Brahma filly Kali (NZ) has been impressive with two wins from two starts to date. She won by two and a quarter lengths on debut at this track in April, then returned there for the opening day of the Hawke's Bay spring carnival. While she was second past the post, she suffered interference in the straight and was later promoted to first. Tony Pike Troy Harris
8 First Rock 14 First Rock (NZ) (El Roca) was a consistent performer last season with a win and three placings from six starts, and she was also a creditable and close fifth in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m). Debbie Sweeney Robert Hannam
9 Jennifer Eccles 5 Never out of a place in three starts, Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) earned black type with a third in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) in May. She was first past the post at Hastings on August 31, but was relegated to second because of interference to Kali. Shaune Ritchie Donavan Mansour
10 Loire 12 Redoute's Choice filly Loire (NZ) was unlucky on debut at Matamata in May, then cleared maiden grade with a stylish win at this track later that month. Her only other start was in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) at the same venue on August 31, where she produced a big finish late in the race for a close third. Tony Pike Michael Coleman
11 Birdsong 11 Blue-blooded Birdsong (NZ) (Snitzel) was a $400,000 purchase in Book 1 of Karaka 2018. She was an emphatic winner of her only start, scoring by two and a quarter lengths at Te Rapa on June 8. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Opie Bosson
12 On Show 10 On Show (NZ) (Showcasing) scored a front-running victory in her only start as a two-year-old, and she returned with a close third behind Kali and Jennifer Eccles on August 31. John Bary Vinnie Colgan
13 Ruby Negroni 16 After two thirds and a black-type fifth in her first three starts, Ruby Negroni (NZ) (Rios) took a big step forward last start with a four-length maiden win at Taupo on August 21. Jason Price Anna Jones
14 Shoshone 8 Shoshone (NZ) (Sacred Falls) is another filly who made a big impression in her only previous start, scoring a brilliant win at Ellerslie on June 3. She won a trial at Cambridge on September 3, beating Aretha by a length. Ken & Bev Kelso Cameron Lammas
15 The Tailor's Niece 1 The Tailor's Niece (NZ) (Showcasing) was a debut winner at Tauherenikau last October, then finished fourth in the Wellesley Stakes. She was unplaced in the El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy on August 31. John Bary Sam Weatherley
16 Manchu 3 Redoute's Choice filly Manchu made a good impression at the trials, and she finished second at Pukekohe on September 4 in her only raceday appearance. Lance Noble

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