High stakes duel at Hawke’s Bay

The 2013 NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series reaches its penultimate leg in the G3 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hawke’s Bay this Saturday.

The majority of the field will use the Lowland as their final lead-up for the G1 NZ Oaks on March 16.

Heading the field are Lucky Country (Darci Brahma) and High Fashion (High Chaparral), with the staunch rivalry already witnessed between these two fillies set to continue.  High Fashion beat Lucky Country in the G3 Desert Gold Stakes only to have the tables turned the last time they met in the Oaks Prelude on February 16.

Emerald Queen (O’Reilly) is a Listed winner and was also G3 placed behind Soriano over 1600m.  She has not had much luck in her last few outings but has raced well in Group 1 company when running an unlucky fifth in the NZB 1000 Guineas in November.

The Lisa Latta trained If I Can I Can (Iffraaj) has produced two good performances to finish just two lengths from the winner at her last two starts after leading the field in both races, the first to High Fashion in the G3 Desert Gold Stakes and then to Lucky Country in the Oaks Prelude.

The Waikato Stud raced Chandelier (O’Reilly) and Set Me Free (Ishiguru) are both lightly tried fillies who have broken maiden ranks and Saturday’s race will be the pair’s first race beyond a mile.

Sworntoperfection (Perfectly Ready) is also in the mix for the Group 3 after taking her second win at Otaki over 1600 metres last Saturday.

Fiftyshadesofgrey (Savabeel) comes into the field after running third over 2000 metres in early February, making her one of the few fillies in the field to have raced over a middle-distance trip.

The Pencarrow Stud raced North of Sunset (Red Ransom) is not currently nominated for the G1 NZ Oaks and she is only lightly tried with Saturday’s race to be just the seventh of her career.  She won her first race two starts ago at Taranaki over a mile.

Trainer John Sargent will have two runners in the field, Jimato (Handsome Ransom) and La Vitesse (Darci Brahma), who both hold nominations for the Oaks.  Breaking her maiden three starts ago, Jimato contested both the Desert Gold Stakes and Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at her last two starts finishing back in the field on both occasions.

La Vitesse recorded her maiden victory November and has had a small break from the track having not raced since the NZB Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile (Res.L) in late January.

Fix (27.5 points) is the current leader of the NZ Bloodstock’s Filly of the Year Series ahead of Soriano (19), Rollout the Carpet (15), Waterford (8.5).  Saturday’s winner will collect 6 points with second place earning 3 points and third earning 1.5.  The last leg of the 10-race Series in the NZ Oaks will offer 12 points for first, 7 for second and 3.5 for third.

View the table for NZB Filly of the Year Series at:   http://www.nzb.co.nz/info/filly.cfm