Taylors Prominently Placed in Filly of the Year

Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) wins the $100,000 Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m).
Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) wins the $100,000 Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m).

Halfway through the 10-race New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, Trelawney Stud’s Brent and Cherry Taylor are in an enviable position.

The Taylors bred and part-own Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice), who sits in second place on the table with 13.5 points after winning the Group One gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November.

But they also co-bred and part-own Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux), who has moved to third place with 12 points after winning the fifth leg of the Series – the $100,000 Group Two Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

Previously a Listed winner and a fast-finishing second in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Boxing Day, Two Illicit relished the increased distance of Wednesday’s race.

Ridden by Vinnie Colgan for trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood, Two Illicit was nicely placed through the early part of the race, sitting in sixth place and one off the rail.

But others started to make their moves a long way from home, shooting forward on her outside as the field headed down the side of the track. Colgan had no choice but to go with them.

Two Illicit hit the lead at the top of the straight, although she had done plenty of work to get there. But instead of fading through the last 300 metres, she powered to the line to win by a length and a quarter.

Bergamot (NZ) (Sweet Orange) found the line well for second, with Lilikoi (NZ) (Charm Spirit) third.

“I was in a good position, but then they started moving at the 600 and I had to hustle and bustle from there to tack on to them,” Colgan said.

“We got to the front a little bit soon, but I still had plenty of horse under me in the straight, and I loved her acceleration. The way she kept up that strong run all the way to the line, I think a race like the Oaks (2400m) in March will be ideal for her.”

Two Illicit has now had five starts for three wins, two placings and $116,750 in prize-money.

“It’s fantastic and a great testament to Roger and Robert,” Brent Taylor said. “They have done a wonderful job, as well as the team back in the stables, to take this filly four times to Ellerslie for three wins and a second. She loves it here, and we love coming here.

“We bought a share in Jimmy Choux when he first went to stud, and we bought the dam Gemini at the sales and raced her. She had a couple of issues and didn’t show her best. We bred a couple of foals out of her and traded her, but kept this filly because she was a beautiful filly and, at the time, commercially she wasn’t going to be worth a lot.

“We just put her in the racing team to see what happens and today happened, which is fantastic.”

The Filly of the Year table-topper is still Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle), who moved to 15 points with her victory in the Eight Carat on Boxing Day.

Loire and Two Illicit are second and third respectively, with Lilikoi moving into fourth with 8 points after collecting another 2 on Wednesday.

The Series now heads to Trentham for the sixth leg, the $70,000 Group Three Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) on January 18.

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