Te Akau Stablemates Share NZB Filly of the Year Honours

Date: 21 Mar 2022

Te Akau Stablemates Share NZB Filly of the Year Honours

 

Te Akau is supremely proud to have trained the two fillies who have dead-heated for 2021/22 NZB Filly of the Year honours this season!  With Belle En Rouge winning the final leg, namely the Group 1 NZ Oaks on Saturday, and stablemate Self Obsession finishing second - the two girls were locked together on 31 points apiece when the final tally was calculated.

Te Akau has now trained EIGHT NZB Filly of the Year title winners. New Zealand Bloodstock reports:

 

For the second time in the last four seasons, the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series title has joint winners - but this time the prestigious title has been shared between two stablemates.

Heading into Saturday's 11th and final leg, the $400,000 Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham, Self Obsession (NZ) (Shocking) had won Group Two races in all of her three previous starts and held a big lead with 24 points. Only two other fillies in the field of 14 were close enough on the points table to pose any threat.

One of them was fellow Jamie Richards-trained runner Belle En Rouge (NZ) (Burgundy), who had 19 points alongside her name. After multiple Group victories and a Group One placing through the spring and early summer, some might have believed she had gone off the boil with sixths in her two Oaks lead-up runs in February and early March. But on Saturday she proved them wrong in emphatic style.

Belle En Rouge was ridden by South Island jockey Jason Laking, whose only previous taste of Group One glory came aboard The Jewel (NZ) (O'Reilly) in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) two decades ago.

Laking gave the $26 outsider a dream run in fifth or sixth spot, angling out into clear air coming down the side of the track and beginning to surge forward.

Belle En Rouge sustained that run all the way to the finish, taking the lead with almost 300 metres still to run and continuing to find more and more. Self Obsession fought back bravely along the inside, with Aspen Colorado (NZ) (Proisir) joining in with a big late burst, but Belle En Rouge held them off and scored by half a length.

“It means a lot to win the Oaks,” Laking said. “I've only had two rides in it before - I got beaten on The Jewel, and then Justine Coup (NZ) (Entrepreneur) reared and went over backwards when the gates opened. I'm just happy to have another ride in the race, but to win it is bloody awesome.

“Jamie is a terrific guy and a terrific trainer, and I hope he does well when he heads over to Hong Kong. He gives me rides whenever he can, and I really appreciate that. I'm happy to repay him for it today.

“I got a nice run, four back and one off the fence, and she just went to sleep. All credit to Jamie and the staff, they put in hours and hours of work, and he said to me that she would be a big chance today.

“I got her out into the open, and I wondered if I might have gone a bit too early, but she toughed it out and won bloody well.”

Belle En Rouge earned 12 points for her New Zealand Oaks triumph, lifting her to a total of 31. She had previously won the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and Group Three Eulogy Stakes (1600m), along with placings in the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) and Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).

 

Self Obsession (NZ) also finished the Series with 31 points

Self Obsession picked up 7 points for her second placing, also lifting her to 31. Through the last three months, she has won the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m), David & Karyn Ellis Fillies' Classic (2000m) and Lowland Stakes (2100m).

Belle En Rouge was bred by Te Akau Racing's David Ellis and Karyn Fenton-Ellis, and she is raced by the Te Akau Beautiful in Red Racing Partnership. She has had 10 starts for four wins, three placings and $391,680 in stakes.

“We were 50/50 whether we were going to run this filly after her performance at Ellerslie last start, but she's just got so much toughness about her,” Richards said. “She was able to overcome a few little things that haven't been going her way.”

Richards was also full of praise for stablemate Self Obsession, bred and raced by David Price. Her six starts have produced four wins, two placings and $278,980 in stakes.

“She tried hard today,” Richards said. “She's been up for a long time and has had a few little aches and pains to deal with along the way, so she's done a wonderful job.”

The 2018-19 NZB Filly of the Year Series also ended in a tie between Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax) and Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel). Before that, the last shared title was way back in 1993.

Belle En Rouge and Self Obsession's heroics have continued an incredible run in the NZB Filly of the Year Series for Te Akau Racing, who have won six previous titles in the last 20 years with Amarelinha (NZ) (Savabeel), Costa Viva (Encosta de Lago), King's Rose (Redoute's Choice), Insouciant (NZ) (Keeper), Princess Coup (Encosta de Lago) and Shikoba (NZ) (Chief Bearhart).

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