NZ Oaks to determine Filly of the Year Series

The G1 NZ Oaks at Trentham on Saturday is set to determine which three-year-old will take the coveted NZB Filly of the Year Series for 2011-12.

The NZ Oaks is the final leg of the 10-race series and it’s a stamina test over 2400 metres.  The series started with the Gold Trail Stakes in September and many of the country’s best fillies have competed for more than $1.20 million during the series.

Saturday’s Group 1 feature will see three fillies – Planet Rock, Capital Diamond and Zurella – all race for the series crown.

Leading the Series on 26 points is Planet Rock (Fastnet Rock) who is a last-start winner of the G3 Lowland Stakes on March 3.  She has also claimed the G1 NZB 1000 Guineas and G2 Eight Carat Classic.

Planet Rock is 11 points clear of her nearest rival Capital Diamond (15)  points. With 12 points to Saturday’s winner, Capital Diamond will need to win the race and have Planet Rock finish out of the placings in order to snatch the Filly Series title.

Trainer Lisa Latta will saddle up Capital Diamond (Lucky Unicorn) and Lady Platinum (Savabeel).  Capital Diamond has placed in five legs of the series and ran on well behind Planet Rock at her last start.

Trainer Shaune Ritchie has two runners in the race, Zurella (Zabeel) and Artistic (Darci Brahma) who are both raced by Dick Karreman’s The Oaks Stud.

Zurella won the G3 Eulogy Stakes and G2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic and ran a good fifth in the G1 NZ Derby at her last outing despite the wet footing not being to her liking.  She holds third place in the series and can win it should she win the Oaks and Planet Rock fails to run a place.

Graeme and Debbie Rogerson are also double-handed with Joy’s Choice (Redoute’s Choice) and Savasong (Savabeel).  Joy’s Choice has been placed in the Tristram Fillies Classic and Sunline Vase.

Savasong comes into the Oaks after running fourth in the Lowland Stakes and will be looking to give her sire Savabeel his third winner at Group 1 level.  She has drawn well in barrier five with Rory Hutchings to ride.

The G3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) saw Quintessential (Fast ‘N’ Famous) fly home to deny Capital Diamond for her first win in the Series. She has placed in her last two runs for trainer John Sargent, behind Zurella in the Sir Tristram Fillies Classic and Planet Rock in the Lowland Stakes. The Oaks will be her first trip beyond 2100 metres and she has drawn very wide with Lisa Allpress to ride.