Ellerslie Carnival Brings Major Moves in NZB Filly of the Year

Jennifer Eccles (NZ) currently sitting in second place on the 2019 FOTY leaderboard.
Jennifer Eccles (NZ) currently sitting in second place on the 2019 FOTY leaderboard.

The festive season marks a pivotal point in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, with two of the 10 legs taking place at Ellerslie within the space of a week – each one worth 8 points to the winner.

First up is Thursday’s $100,000 Group Two SkyCity Eight Carat Classic (1600m), which in recent years has been won by eventual Filly of the Year winners Katie Lee (Pins), Planet Rock (Fastnet Rock), Fix (NZ) (Iffraaj) and Queen of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel).

This year’s field is headed by Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle), who sits in second place on the leaderboard with 7 points.

Although she is still a maiden, Jennifer Eccles has placed in three stakes races, starting with a third in last season’s Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m).

She began her Filly of the Year Series campaign with a fourth in the first leg, the Group Three Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings, behind Aretha (NZ) (Charm Spirit), Bavella (Snitzel) and the current table-topper Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice).

After a third in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), Jennifer Eccles stepped up to Group One level and charged home for a close second in the gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), just a long neck behind Loire.

Jennifer Eccles trails Loire by 6.5 points in the Filly of the Year Series race, and she will move to the top of the table if she can win the Eight Carat Classic. Champion Sydney-based Kiwi jockey James McDonald takes the ride.

The field also features last-start Listed winner Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux), plus stakes placegetters Showoroses (NZ) (Showcasing), Manchu (Redoute’s Choice), Familia (NZ) (Makfi), Showbeel (NZ) (Savabeel), Aalaalune (NZ) (Reliable Man) and Tears of Jupiter (Zoustar).

Manchu features on the Filly of the Year table with 3 points, while Showbeel has 1.5.

Along with the 8 points available to the winner, the runner-up in the Eight Carat Classic will earn 4 points and the third placegetter will collect 2 points.

The SkyCity Eight Carat Classic will be run as Race 7 on Thursday with a start time of 4:05pm.

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Jennifer Eccles 4 Rip Van Winkle filly Jennifer Eccles (NZ) has been described as New Zealand's best maiden, with placings in three stakes races including a fast-finishing and close second in last month's Group 1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m). Star Sydney-based jockey James McDonald takes the ride. Shaune Ritchie James McDonald
2 Two Illicit 5 Representing the same owner-breeders as Filly of the Year Series leader Loire (NZ) (Redoute's Choice), promising filly Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) has had two wins and a placing from three starts to date. She stepped up to stakes level last start and scored a highly impressive come-from-behind win in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) at this track. Roger James & Robert Wellwood Vinnie Colgan
3 Showoroses 1 In-form filly Showoroses (NZ) (Showcasing) started her campaign with back-to-back wins, beating the subsequent impressive performers Star of Bombay (NZ) (Atlante) and Showbeel (NZ) (Savabeel). She was a strong last-start second in the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) behind the undefeated Riodini (NZ) (Proisir). Joanne Surgenor Andrew Calder
4 Manchu 10 A winner during the Hawke's Bay spring carnival, Manchu (Redoute's Choice) proved herself at black-type level last start with a determined front-running performance to finish second in the Group 3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Awapuni. Lance Noble Shaun McKay
5 Familia 11 Familia (NZ) (Makfi) scored an impressive win at Pukekohe on November 23, then finished third behind Riodini and Showoroses in the Bonecrusher Stakes at this track on December 7. She has had eight starts for two wins, two placings and two fourths. Lance Noble Leith Innes
6 Annie's Song 9 By this season's leading sire Darci Brahma, Annie's Song (NZ) has won two races at her home track of Ruakaka. She has also shown promise at stakes level at Ellerslie, finishing fifth in the Soliloquy Stakes and seventh in the Trevor Eagle Memorial. Chris Gibbs & Michelle Bradley Cameron Lammas
7 Showbeel 12 By Savabeel out of a daughter of multiple Group 1 winner Showella (NZ) (Lord Ballina), the talented Showbeel (NZ) won with ease at Rotorua last month before tackling the Eulogy Stakes at Awapuni. Despite over-racing in the early stages, she finished the race strongly to finish third. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Opie Bosson
8 Aalaalune 6 Aalaalune (NZ) (Reliable Man) was a Group 1 performer as a two-year-old last season. She finally brought up the first win of her career two starts back, scoring by four lengths at Te Rapa, then finished fourth in the Eulogy Stakes after some trouble before the start. Team Rogerson Ryan Elliot
9 Tears of Jupiter 2 The well-bred Tears of Jupiter (Zoustar) was a $650,000 yearling purchase at Karaka 2018. She won over 1400m at Ellerslie on November 5, then tackled the Trevor Eagle Memorial and dead-heated for third place. Peter & Dawn Williams Troy Harris
10 Coco Baci 3 Savabeel filly Coco Baci has had just two starts, making up late ground for fourth on debut last month before winning over this course and distance on December 7. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Craig Grylls
11 Diamonds Galore 8 Diamonds Galore (NZ) (Tavistock) made a brilliant start to the spring with a win and a placing in her first two starts, then had no luck when finishing eighth in the Soliloquy Stakes. She again encountered traffic trouble in the straight last start, finishing a close fourth against a talented line-up at this track. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
12 Kaipaki Road 7 By promising sire El Roca, Kaipaki Road (NZ) won a maiden race over this distance in September. Her only start since then was a late-finishing eighth over 1400m at Ellerslie on December 15. Stephen Marsh Danielle Johnson

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