Table-topping Fillies Clash in Classic

Loire (NZ), placed first equal alongside Jennifer Eccles (NZ).
Loire (NZ), placed first equal alongside Jennifer Eccles (NZ).

After six legs of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, star performers Loire (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice) and Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) are deadlocked at the top of the table. That is set change at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The pair will clash again in the seventh leg of the Series, the $100,000 Group Two David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m), with a crucial 8 points available to the winner.

Loire and Jennifer Eccles have each earned 16.5 points through the Series so far.

Loire has the upper hand in their head-to-head clashes, beating Jennifer Eccles in three of the four occasions they have met. The most significant was her victory one of the biggest races of the Series, the Group One gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

But Jennifer Eccles has subsequently won the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m), and she arguably produced a more impressive performance than Loire when storming home for third in the Group Three Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last month. Loire finished just ahead of her second.

The winner of the Desert Gold was Showbeel (NZ) (Savabeel), who sits in fifth place on the Filly of the Year Series table with 7.5 points and can continue her rise on Saturday.

The other fillies in Saturday’s line-up – Coco Baci (Savabeel), Brahma Sunset (NZ) (Darci Brahma), Pineapple Girl (Olympic Glory) and Hakuna Matata (NZ) (Shamoline Warrior) – are all looking for their first points of the Series.

The David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic will be run as Race 4 on Saturday with a start time of 2:10pm

# Horse Draw Comments Trainer Jockey
1 Loire 5 After a couple of stakes placings at the beginning of the spring, Loire (NZ) (Redoute's Choice) rose to the top of her generation with a brilliant win in the Group 1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November. Her only start since then was in last month's Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m), where she ran an excellent race for second. She is the equal leader in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series. Tony Pike Michael McNab
2 Jennifer Eccles 1 Sharing the lead with Loire in the Filly of the Year Series is Jennifer Eccles (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle). She finished second behind that rival in the 1000 Guineas, but has performed impressively since then. She won the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) on Boxing Day, then flew home from last for a close third in the Desert Gold. Shaune Ritchie Jason Waddell
3 Showbeel 3 Showbeel (NZ) (Savabeel) joined the big guns in the Filly of the Year Series with an upset victory in the Desert Gold at Trentham last month. She now has 7.5 points in the Filly of the Year Series, placing her fifth and 9 points behind equal leaders Loire and Jennifer Eccles. She is bred to relish longer distances. Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Opie Bosson
4 Coco Baci 6 After catching the eye with a huge finish to win a maiden race in her second start, Coco Baci (Savabeel) has stepped up to stakes level. She was a solid fifth in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m), then made up late ground for fourth in the Group 2 Royal Stakes (2000m). Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman Danielle Johnson
5 Brahma Sunset 2 Darci Brahma filly Brahma Sunset (NZ) has shown plenty of potential in her four-start career to date, winning by three lengths at Taupo on December 30 and by a length and a half at Hastings in her most recent appearance on January 29. This is her first start at stakes level. Tony Pike Leith Innes
6 Pineapple Girl 4 Australian filly Pineapple Girl (Olympic Glory) makes her New Zealand debut in this race and adds plenty of interest. She has had three starts in Victoria, beginning with a sixth and a fifth before winning at Sale on January 12. Michael Moroney & Pam Gerard Michael Coleman
7 Hakuna Matata 7 Hakuna Matata (NZ) (Shamoline Warrior) is a maiden but has shown promise, finishing well for fourth placings in her last two starts. Wayne Hillis

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