Loire Soars to NZB Filly of the Year Series Lead

Loire (NZ) and Michael McNab celebrate a brilliant victory in the G1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas. Photo: Race Images South.
Loire (NZ) and Michael McNab celebrate a brilliant victory in the G1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas. Photo: Race Images South.

An up and down spring reached its pinnacle at Riccarton on Saturday for Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice), who leads the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series after a brilliant victory in the $300,000 Group 1 gavelhouse.com 47th New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).

Ups and downs are nothing new for Loire, who was bred by Trelawney Stud’s Brent and Cherry Taylor. She has exemplary pedigree credentials, being by champion sire Redoute’s Choice and being a half-sister to the Group 1 winner A Touch of Ruby (NZ) (Pins). However, a paddock injury meant she was unable to be sold as a yearling.

The Taylors decided to race her themselves, in partnership with Kate Plaw, and put her into training with Tony Pike at Cambridge.

She was a luckless seventh on debut at Matamata in early May, then won stylishly at Hastings later that month.

She began this spring with two fast-finishing stakes placings at Hastings, including behind the subsequent Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner Catalyst (NZ) (Darci Brahma).

But just when her star seemed to be on a rapid rise, Loire finished third-last in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on October 26. She was beaten by more than six lengths. She was found to have suffered atrial fibrillation.

Largely overlooked as a $28 chance in an even field for Saturday’s Guineas, Loire produced a career-defining performance.

With Michael McNab in the saddle, she blazed home from third-last and powered past the previously unbeaten Travelling Light (NZ) (El Roca) in the straight.

Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) also produced a big finishing burst, but Loire was out of reach and beat her by a long neck. Travelling Light, who had led for most of the race, finished another half a length behind in third.

“We always thought this was going to be the race for her,” Pike said.

“Ellerslie was a real mystery. Her two runs before that at Hawke’s Bay over a distance too short for her had been very, very good.

“We always thought this was going to be the race for her. When you have these heart problems, they can be one-offs. We hoped that was the case when all the tests came back clear.

“She had worked super coming into the race, so we rolled the dice. She is a very good filly who is only going to get better as she gets up over further.

“It’s a great result for Brent and Cherry Taylor, who bred her as well. She’s a very valuable filly now. She had a little paddock injury, so she couldn’t go through the yearling sales but I’m pretty sure they are glad they kept her.”

Cherry Taylor was overjoyed by the result.

“I just started screaming from the turn, but Brent was sitting down, and then he finally saw she was coming, so he stood up and started screaming as well,” she said.

“It’s a huge thrill, because we have always had a big opinion of her. She had that heart fibrillation last time, which was a big shock and disappointment, but Tony and his team have done a huge job and we’re just so thrilled.”

Loire has now had six starts for two wins and two placings, earning $193,250 in prize-money.

She had previously finished third in the first leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, so she has now moved into a clear lead with 13.5 points.

Jennifer Eccles moves into second with 7 points, while Gold Trail Stakes winner Aretha holds on to third place with 6. Travelling Light is now fourth with 3.5 points.

The Series will continue next month with the third leg, the $70,000 LawnMaster Eulogy Stakes (1600m), to be held at Awapuni on December 14.

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