Saturday's $70,000, Group 3, Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes (1600m) is the fourth leg of the coveted New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series and it has attracted a quality field of three-year-old fillies.
Heading the list in the number one saddle cloth is the Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas winner, and current leader in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, King's Rose (Redoute's Choice x Nureyev's Girl).
An impressive winner of the G.1 feature at her last start, her lead is the Series is safe leading into tomorrow's race, with 6 points to tomorrow's winner and King's Rose sitting 6 points clear of her biggest threat on the points table in the race, Rememba Howe.
Trained by Jason Bridgman, King's Rose would become the fourth NZB Filly of the Year since 2006 for Te Akau stable - with Insouciant in 2008, Princess Coup in 2007 and Shikoba in 2006 - if successful this Series. Opie Bosson joins her again tomorrow, from barrier 7.
Currently holding third place in the Series is Rememba Howe (Handsome Ransom x Yachting Magic) following her win in the opening race, the Group 3 Hawke's Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) in September. She raced well for fourth in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas but was checked in the 1000 Guineas the week later to ruin her points chances there. Trainers Evan and J J Rayner will be hoping she gets more luck in tomorrow's race.
Last season's Champion Two-Year-Old Banchee (Oratorio x Miss Jessie Jay) is another quality addition to the field. Notwithstanding she did not get all favours at her last start in the Group 1 NZB 1000 Guineas she still sits second favourite with the punters who will be sharing John Sargent's hope of a return to form for her tomorrow. She has drawn 3 with Hayden Tinsley aboard.
The Kevin Gray trained Kiwi Lady (Ruby's Jester x Luscious lady) has been impressive in her two starts on the track for two wins. She will be facing her biggest test tomorrow against some more experienced horses but she has shown that she has talent and cannot be ignored.
Belles Fast (Fastnet Rock x Cast Your Fate) was very impressive two starts back winning at Otaki in emphatic style. She was another runner who struggled in the Group 1 NZB 1000 Guineas but trainer Allan Sharrock and connections will be hoping that she can reproduce the form she showed at Otaki which would take her along way tomorrow.
Kabuki (Shinko King x Upstage) and Annie Higgins (O'Reilly x Diva Belle) both have support in the market after producing good performances at their last starts. Both are making their debut appearances in the NZB Filly of the Year Series tomorrow.
Our Milly Smith (Volksraad x Sound Lear) is one of just three last start winners in the race (with King's Rose and Kiwi Lady) coming off a win at Wanganui in the Jolt Coffee House Maiden (1340m). She steps up in class and distance here with Johnathon Parkes aboard for Otaki trainer Howie Mathews.
Waiana Gold (Gold Centre x Waiana) also comes off a strong performance at her last outing, running second over a mile two weeks ago. She lines up for Gary Vile, with a change of rider as Lisa Allpress takes the mount.
Rounding off the field in the Group 3 Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes are L'Amour (Towkay x Penthouse Blue), Lol (General Nediym x Kazak) and Nancho Bella (Mr. Nancho x Jenny May) and Irish Jewel (Street Cry x Lowan Behold).
The Group 3 Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes winner will receive six points in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, with second place receiving three points and one-and-a-half points for third. King's Rose currently heads the Series on 12 points, with Rememba Howe tomorrow's biggest threat with 6 points and third place on the table.
The fourth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, the Group 3 Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes (1600m), will be held at Awapuni at 3.41pm.