New Leader in New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series

Jennifer Eccles (NZ) heads the NZB Filly of the Year leaderboard. Photo: Trish Dunell.
Jennifer Eccles (NZ) heads the NZB Filly of the Year leaderboard. Photo: Trish Dunell.

Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) surged to the lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series with a superb victory in the $100,000 Group 2 SkyCity Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Before Thursday’s race, the Shaune Ritchie-trained filly sat in second place on 7 points. The top spot on the table belonged to Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice) with 13.5 points.

But Jennifer Eccles collected another 8 points in the Eight Carat Classic – a victory that freed her of the unwanted title of ‘New Zealand’s best maiden’.

While she had no previous victories to her name in her six-start career, she had placed in five of them including a second in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas, a third in the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), a third in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) and a fourth in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).

Boxing Day was her day. For most of the spring, wide barrier draws had forced her to drop a long way back, leaving her with too much work to do late in her races.

This time she jumped from gate four and was able to sit much closer to the pace, and then she burst to the lead in the straight.

Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) produced a powerful finish of her own to close the margin to one length at the finish line, but Jennifer Eccles was never in danger of defeat. Showoroses (NZ) (Showcasing) stuck on strongly for third.

“That was a very good performance,” said champion Sydney-based jockey James McDonald, who is back in his homeland for a Christmas-New Year holiday.

“All of the breaks went her way today, but even if they hadn’t, I think she still would have won. She has an exceptional turn of foot. I was just sitting and steering.”

Jennifer Eccles has now earned more than $136,000 in prize-money for her huge group of owners in Adrian Clark’s Challenge No.10 Syndicate, who flooded into the winners’ circle after her Eight Carat triumph.

Bred by the Westend Partnership, Jennifer Eccles was a $5,000 weanling purchase from the 2017 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka.

She now heads the Filly of the Year Series standings with 15 points, just ahead of Loire on 13.5. Aretha (NZ) (Charm Spirit) and Lilikoi (NZ) (Charm Spirit) share third spot with 6 points apiece.

Two Illicit joins the table with 4 points, while Showoroses collected 2 points for her third placing.

The Series continues on New Year’s Day with the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie, with connections of Two Illicit indicating that she is likely to back up.

View the leaderboard and schedule online here.

Vendor Westend Partnership
Purchaser Adrian Clark Bloodstock Consultancy
Breeding Rip Van Winkle – Platinum Elle
Sale Lot 221, 2017 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock, $5,000
Bred by Westend Partnership

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