The $300,000, Group 1,New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas - the third leg of the coveted NZB Filly of the Year Series - has attracted a stellar line up of 15 three-year-old fillies for the feature race at Riccarton on Saturday.
The Group 1 1000 Guineas winner will receive 12 valuable points in the Series, with second place receiving seven points and third three-and-a-half points. Last year's NZB Filly of the Year title went to Katie Lee (Pins x Miss Jessie Jay) who created history when she backed up to win the 1000 Guineas after beating the boys in the 2000 Guineas a week earlier.
Among the talented line up of fillies for Saturday's race is the current $2.90 favourite, the Murray and Bjorn Baker trained We Can Say It Now (Starcraft x We Can't Say That). The filly notched up a good win when she beat a top field in the James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa last start, many of which are lining up in Saturday's race. She has drawn the ace barrier and looks well placed in the race.
Champion Two-Year-Old, the John Sargent trained Banchee (Oratorio x Miss Jessie Jay), will be looking to emulate the deeds of her half-sister Katie Lee as she looks to add to her Group 1 Auckland Diamond Stakes win last season. The filly would have taken a lot from her last start behind We Can Say It Now and if back to her brilliant best on Saturday another Group 1 win would surprise few. She has drawn barrier two and will be ridden by James McDonald.
Handsome Ransom filly Rememba Howe has had a great season to date notching up two wins including the Group 3 Hawke's Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes. She was a strong fourth in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas last Saturday finishing less than one length from the winner Jimmy Choux. Trained by Evan and J J Rayner, she is also drawn well in barrier three.
The current leader on the Karaka 3YO Mile Order of Entry, the Murray and Bjorn Baker trained Twilight Savings (Secret Savings x Ghemashah), is another that has had a strong season to date. The filly notched up four wins in a row, the last resulting in a win in the Listed Rotorua Plate against the older horses. She too ran a strong race for third in the Group 1 2000 Guineas and is another filly with strong claims in the race. To be ridden by Leith Innes, the three-year-old has drawn barrier four making an intriguing race with the four favourites jumping from the first four barriers.
The Lisa Latta trained Zennista (Zenno Rob Roy x Zarnitsa) brings interesting form into the race. A model of consistency, she has raced on five occasions for two wins and three places and beat a good field in her last start including Rememba Howe in the Kolfinna Classic at Trentham. She will be ridden by Darryl Bradley and has drawn barrier nine in the 15 horse field.
Fillies Dating (O'Reilly x Mandate) and Elusive Tracy (Trestres Tracy Ann x Elusive City) seem to be the forgotten runners in the race. Dating's last start fifth in the James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes was promising and on her day she is a tough filly. Elusive Tracy put in a strong performance in the Group 2 NZB Wellington Guineas, covering a massive amount of ground to finish three lengths away in second place to Barside. She has shown some promise in her three starts and seeing either of these fillies in the finish would be of little surprise.
King's Rose (Redoute's Choice x Nureyev's Girl) and Belles Fast (Fastnet Rock x Cast Your Fate) both bring winning form into the face. King's Rose beat a good field including the Listed winner and fellow Guineas runner Princess Emmy and the well performed Encosta Diablo in the Ray Coupland Stakes at Ashburton last month. The Allan Sharrock trained Belles Fast recorded her second win in the James Taylor Trainer Go With The Flow Racing Stables 1400 beating Galaxy Star.
The Ken and Bev Kelso trained Magic Briar (ex Alberton Magic) will look to give her sire Thorn Park a Guineas double on Saturday following his success with Jimmy Choux. Magic Briar has won three of her six starts and has some support in the betting market.
Smoulder (Traditionally x Flying Firebird) has won three of her seven starts, all as a two-year-old, and has been racing well this season. She ran a good fourth to We Can Say It Now in her last start and will be looking to reverse the tables on Saturday.
The Listed NZB Canterbury Belle Stakes winner Princess Emmy (King's Chapel x Hoot N' Holler) will be looking to bounce back to her best after two recent unplaced efforts. Heart's Delight (Show A Heart x Troubeaut) ran second to Undisclosed, beating Icepin in the Listed Canterbury Stakes in his last start' and will be looking to carry that form through to the race on Saturday.
Red Horizon (Spartacus x Guardian Miss) ran a good fourth in the Listed Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie two starts back before running eighth at her last start to We Can Say It Now. Rounding off Saturday's field is Miss Maximuss (Castledale x Missprynt) who won her maiden race four starts back and ran second to Princess Emmy in the Listed NZB Canterbury Belle Stakes.
The current NZB Filly of the Year leader is the Handsome Ransom filly Rememba Howe (ex Yachting Magic) who has six points following her win in the Group 1 Gold Trail Stakes on 18 September. Singapore Sling (Starcraft x Gin Sling) is in second with four points after taking the second race of the Series, and Dating (O'Reilly x Mandate) is third with three-and-a-half points.
Gates will open in the Group 1 $300,000 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at 3.16pm at Riccarton on Saturday afternoon.