Amarelinha Out to Cap Fillies' Dominance

Date: 19 Mar 2021

Amarelinha Out to Cap Fillies' Dominance


Raceform's Richard Edmunds writes:


“She wasn't completely at home in the wet ground at Ellerslie last time, and you also have to acknowledge that Needle And Thread is well above average.”


Undefeated against three-year-old fillies, Amarelinha heads to Trentham on Saturday to try to add an exclamation mark to a dominant campaign in the Gr. 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.

The daughter of Savabeel was bred by Waikato Stud and was a $300,000 purchase at Karaka by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis.

Narrowly beaten on debut by the subsequent Levin Classic placegetter Wild Moose, she won both of her next two including a scintillating performance in the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

In one of the highlights of the New Zealand racing season, Amarelinha was beaten by a head by standout male three-year-old Aegon in a superb Karaka Million 3YO Classic at Ellerslie in late January. She then returned to three-year-old fillies' company, scoring back-to-back victories in the Gr. 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic at Te Rapa and the Gr. 3 Sunline Vase at Ellerslie.

With three starts in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series for three wins, the Jamie Richards-trained Amarelinha heads into Saturday's finale with an almost-unassailable 22 points to her name. The only way she can be denied the title is if Needle And Thread wins the Oaks and Amarelinha is unplaced.

Amarelinha has defeated Needle And Thread in both of their last two starts - a breathtaking romp by four and a half lengths at Te Rapa, and a nail-biting nose victory in the last stride at Ellerslie.

“She wasn't completely at home in the wet ground at Ellerslie last time, and you also have to acknowledge that Needle And Thread is well above average,” Richards said. “She was an impressive winner of the Royal Stakes at the same track earlier in the season.

“Needle And Thread enjoyed a nice run in front and was able to kick away at the top of the straight, whereas we got flushed out very wide and had to cover a fair bit of extra ground.

“In the end, even though she got up to win by only a narrow margin, I still thought it was a very creditable performance from our filly.

“She's trained on nicely since that race. She's done some good work by herself on Saturday and again this (Tuesday) morning, and she appears to be going into the race in really good shape.”

Amarelinha has been a dominant favourite in the TAB's Oaks market since her Fillies' Classic fireworks at Te Rapa, dropping to $1.80 that afternoon and remaining around that mark ever since. The TAB also rates her a $4.50 favourite for the Gr. 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick on April 10.

“We'll get through Trentham first, but we do have the Oaks in Sydney in the back of our minds as a possible target if we do take her across the Tasman,” Richards said.

“But the weather forecast is terrible over there at the moment, so that's something we'll need to be mindful of with her and also our other possible Sydney runners (such as Probabeel, Sword of State and Melody Belle).”

Meanwhile, Richards will also saddle a three-pronged attack on the Gr. 2 Fusion Electrical Wellington Guineas with Need I Say More, Cornflower Blue and Brando.

Need I Say More is now the winner of six of his eight starts. Five of those have been at stakes level, including a strong finish over the top of flying front-runner Babylon Berlin in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes at Ellerslie two weeks ago.

“He was very brave again there at Ellerslie last start,” Richards said. “He just keeps stepping up to the mark.

“I think being back left-handed will suit him this weekend, and I expect him to particularly enjoy Trentham. He's been going well since that last race, and he seems to have a few things in his favour in this race on Saturday.”

Cornflower Blue placed in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas in November, and she was a fast-finishing third in the Mufhasa Stakes in her first start since then.

“She found the line very well at Ellerslie the other day, and she's gone the right way since then,” Richards said. “She'll have blinkers on for the first time this weekend, and we're expecting another good run from her.”

Brando made a big impression earlier in the season, winning three of his first five starts including the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes, along with a strong-finishing second in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic at this track. A planned Australian Guineas campaign was cut short after he failed to fire in the Gr. 3 CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington on February 13.

“He's come back from Australia very well,” Richards said. “We gave him a couple of days in the paddock when he got home, and he's made good progress since then. He had a really nice, strong gallop at Counties last week, and I think he's in good shape.”

Romantic Lady will have her first start at stakes level in Saturday's Listed Hardy Trade Supply Company Lightning Handicap.

The four-year-old daughter of Power has been a model of consistency, never finishing further back than fifth. Her 14 starts have produced four wins, four seconds, four thirds, one fourth and one fifth.

In her most recent appearance, Romantic Lady was a close third behind Vigor Winner and Colorado Star in a 1400-metre race at Hastings.

“She's been so consistent and has earned an opportunity at this sort of level,” Richards said. “She's going well, and I think dropping back to 1200 metres could be a good thing for her this week.”


Sign up to our newsletter