Amarelinha Group 1 & Filly of the Year Victor
20 Mar 2021
Sewing up the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, Amarelinha (3 f Savabeel – Hopscotch, by O’Reilly) was a conclusive winner of the $400,000 Albasti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (Gr. 1, 2400m) on Saturday at Trentham.
Fully expected to deliver, and honouring her $1.60 favouritism, Amarelinha joined the NZB Filly of the Year Honour Roll which contains five previous winners trained by Te Akau: Shikoba (Chief Bearhart), Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago), Insouciant (Keeper), King’s Rose (Redoute’s Choice) and Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago).
A series of both prestige and huge benefits for the commercial breeding appeal of fillies, it was understandable connections opted for an Oaks path with Amarelinha when other opportunities also beckoned.
“Pinnacle races like the Oaks are very difficult to win and I’m thrilled that Jamie (Richards) has gained his first with Amarelinha,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM, who purchased the filly as a yearling for $300,000 at the 2019 Karaka Book 1 Sale, from the draft of Waikato Stud.
“We’ve previously won the (NZ) Oaks with Princess Coup, and the Queensland Oaks with Crystal Palace. She’s such a beautiful filly, Amarelinha, and we had to pay a bit to get her but what an incredible thrill to see her achievements in such a short time.”
Following a debut second in November, Amarelinha has won five of her seven starts, and two seconds. She scored stakes’ victories in the Eight Carat Classic (Gr. 2, 1600m), David & Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (Gr. 2, 2000m) and Sunline Vase (Gr. 3, 2100m), and was second in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m) from a wide gate and has banked $518,700 for the Te Akau Hopskip’n’jump Syndicate (Mgr: Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM).
“My basic philosophy is to run the fillies in their own sex races if possible and I believe the Filly of the Year Series should be supported. Jamie and I worked through different scenarios for Amarelinha, and in hindsight I think we’ve opted the right way,” David Ellis said.
“It’s so exciting for everyone involved in a Filly of the Year, and while Amarelinha has a fantastic pedigree page, you can’t underestimate how much winning this honour means, on top of that, for her commercial significance when it comes to breeding. It’s invaluable.
“I’m thrilled for Opie (Bosson). He’s worked really hard to get his weight right this season. He’s been riding a lot of work, plenty of trials, and we’ve very lucky to have someone of his class in the team. He was apprentice to Te Akau when he was 14 years old and to witness his rise to the top has been fantastic. I am very proud of him and his determination.
“He rode a beautifully judged race and just has so much confidence going into Group One races. He’s not overawed by the occasion and it was another 10 out of 10 ride.”
For national record holder Opie Bosson, it was his 83rdGroup One victory.
Awkwardly away from barrier 12 but able to recover and find a midfield position with a mile to run, Amarelinha came from eighth nearing the 600m before sweeping up to level 400m out. Quickening with a handy buffer mid-straight, she never flinched in holding a couple of earnest challengers at bay.
“She jumped in the air at the start, and I thought ‘oh no’,” Bosson said. “The plan was to ride her handy and I was further back than I wanted to be, but to her credit she relaxed beautifully.
“I have to learn to control her turn of foot, because I get there (front) too soon on her, but she found and when she heard the other one coming she gave me a bit more. It shows a good horse quality.”
Winning by a neat length, Amarelinha ran the 2400 metres in 2:29.6 on footing rated Dead4.
“She’s a very good filly,” said Champion Trainer Jamie Richards, who extended his Group One tally this season to 13, among 36 stakes’ race wins, and a career Group One total of 44.
“It was brilliant and I’m thrilled for everyone concerned. We’ve got a great team of owners in her. Dave (Ellis) bought her at Karaka, off Waikato Stud, and we’ve had so much success with Savabeel.”
Both Ellis and Richards are forever grateful to the Te Akau team, both at Te Akau Stud and the stables in Matamata, and were again full of praise.
“As Jamie says, we can’t do all this ourselves and we’re so proud of our team,” Ellis said. “We’ve had two Group wins today at Trentham, and the two young guys that strapped them, Reece Trumper (Need I Say More) and Sam Bergerson (Amarelinha) have huge futures with Te Akau.
“They’re two champion people that are incredibly dedicated to their roles and work so hard to help us.
“I’m thrilled for the whole team. Amarelinha comes from the Middle Barn that Nicole Shailer and Sam (Bergerson) run, and they’re having a fantastic season with their horses including Melody Belle and Avantage.
“Need I Say More, who won the Wellington Guineas, is from the Colt Barn, run by Scott Lucock and Mette Mosebo, and their stable is having a hell of a season too, with On the Bubbles and Sword of State.
“Today is very special,” Ellis added.
Amarelinha is from the family of Rosehill Guineas (Gr. 1, 2000m) winner Metal Bender (Danasinga), a son of grand-dam Jacqwin (Bluebird). Metal Bender won nine races in Australia, and the title of top Australian 3YO in his year, while Jacqwin has left seven individual winners of 22 races. Her sire, Bluebird (Storm Bird), is a high quality influence in any pedigree and represented by only a select band of mares in New Zealand.
Through the sire line of Savabeel, as sire of Sir Tristram, and the dam line of grand-dam sire Bluebird, Amarelinha carries a bloodline cross to 1968 Epsom Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) winner Sir Ivor (Sir Gaylord). Once said by legendary hoop Lester Piggott to be the best horse he ever rode.
Amarelinha was strapped by Sam Bergerson.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz