New Zealand Bloodstock's Southern Filly of the Year Series, celebrating its 32nd year this season, has attracted a field of 12 three-year-old fillies to contest the Series opener at Riccarton on Saturday.
The $50,000 Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) is the first of four Listed races in the Series which concludes with the New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) in April next year.
The Series was won by Ortem Fire(Gallant Guru) last season who earned 13 points by winning the NZB Insurance Stakes and collecting two second further placings.
Saturday's race will see 12 fillies out to etch their name next to other Southern Series winners including Bird (Danasinga), Belmont Cat (Felix the Cat), Grace Park (Danske) and Ombre Rose (O'Reilly).
Coming into the Canterbury feature after a dominant victory earlier this month, Glade (Iffraaj) could not have been more impressive in the Riccarton straight for trainer Michael Pitman who has five entries in the race.
She looks to have taken massive improvement from her six months away from the track and will step up from her 800 metre victory to 1200 metres on Saturday from barrier eight with Chris Johnson in the saddle.
Running a good second on debut to Glade at Riccarton was Keltic Kitty(One Cool Cat) who is another entry for Pitman. She too looked comfortable in the race, holding second place from the top of the straight to the post and has drawn well in five with Amelia Denby in the saddle.
Pitman will also saddle Ruby Red (Dehere) who will race fresh-up after winning her only trial on 10 September, Berenice (Holy Roman Emperor) who will make her debut after winning two of her three trials, and Ask Me (Any Suggestion) who has had two unplaced runs at Riccarton this season and will make her stakes debut.
Any Suggestion will have two runners with the Leo Molloy trained Coat du Roan (Coats Choice) coming into the race after contesting her South Island debut at Riccarton at her last start in the NZB Insurance Southern Bonus Prelude on 14 September where she was unplaced.
Darci Brahma also has two fillies in the race with Champagne Katieand Outshine.
The lightly raced Champagne Katie is another to win fresh-up this season taking a 1200 metre maiden at Riccarton last Friday for trainers Kevin & Pam Hughes. She had the benefit of two trials coming into last Friday's race and has drawn wide in 10 with Mark Sweeney to ride.
The Oaks Stud's colours enjoyed a top 2011/12 season with the likes of Artistic (Darci Brahma) and Zurella (Zabeel) giving the Stud the title of New Zealand Owner of the Year. The Oaks has two fillies in the race, Outshinefor trainer Jason Bridgman and Spring Cheer (Bachelor Duke) for Kevin Myers.
Both fillies will be making their race debut, with Outshine placed in two trials coming into the race. They have drawn barriers nine and 12 respectively.
The Noel Graham trained Emily Trimbole (Saperavi) won her debut as a two-year-old and comes into the race fresh-up from barrier seven with Toni Direen in the saddle.
Emerald Queen (O'Reilly) from Shane Kennedy & Anna Furlong's stables ran fifth on debut at Riccarton last Friday, and will be wearing the colours of New Zealand's Champion 3YO Silent Achiever.
Singapore Girl (Kingmaker) completes the field and will be looking to bring up her maiden victory in the race for trainer Iain Marks. She has the services of jockey Jay Misbah and will jump from barrier 11.
The winner of the $50,000 Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) will receive seven points in New Zealand Bloodstock's Southern Filly of the Year Series, with second place earning three points and third place earning one point.The Canterbury Belle Stakes will be run on Saturday at Riccarton Park at 3.41pm. For more information on the Southern Filly of the Year Series, including the race schedule and current points table,click here .