Meanwhile, another smart 2YO Bit Lippy (Showcasing-Ceramic, by Van Nistelrooy) will return to Wayne Hillis' stable next week to begin preparations for his classic season, reports NZ Racing Desk. The gelding raced exclusively in black type company during his juvenile campaign recording placings in the Gr2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m), Gr3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m), and Listed Ashford Lodge Stakes (1100m), before rounding out his preparation with a deserved win in the Gr3 Phoenix Park Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth in February. Hillis is hoping Bit Lippy can be fit in time for the Group 1 NZ 2,000 Guineas, but concedes time is against him. "He had a chip removed, that's why he's had a good spell," Hillis said. "He's really well now and he's definitely grown and strengthened. We might be a little bit late to get to the 2000 Guineas - we might still get there - but there's still the Levin Classic [Gr1] and other races."
Haunui Farm in conjunction with Whitsbury Manor Stud have announced that Showcasing will no longer shuttle to the southern hemisphere, reports NZ Racing Desk. Showcasing's stallion career has continued to flourish at Whitsbury Manor Stud in the UK where he now commands a fully booked service fee of £35,000 having started his stud career in 2011 at a service fee of £5,000. The son of Oasis Dream now has 25 stakes winners after his 3YO son Dice Roll (FR) staked a claim for the French 2000 Guineas with a brilliant 5 length in the Gr3 Prix Djebel at Deauville on Tuesday. Given his European success and popularity, Whitsbury Manor Stud's offer to purchase the 50 per cent shareholding owned by the New Zealand-based shareholders of Showcasing was accepted on the condition that he no longer shuttle to the southern hemisphere. Showcasing has been represented by six stakes winners in the southern hemisphere this racing season including exciting 3YOs Be Bee and So Far Sokool and 2YO Group winners Xpression and Bit Lippy. Showcasing stood at Haunui Farm last season at $12,000 + GST and will be represented by three further racing crops in the southern hemisphere.
Meanwhile, the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes is the primary target for smart Kiwi juvenile Bit Lippy. "He's going to go to the Matamata Slipper and then the Sires' Produce. I'm not sure about the Sistema as the Manawatu is a bit longer and that will suit him," trainer Wayne Hillis said. Bit Lippy (Showcasing-Ceramic, by Van Nistelrooy) was placed at his first three starts in black-type company before opening his stakes account in last Saturday's Gr3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth. "He'd been unlucky in a couple so he deserved it," Hillis said. The Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) will be run at Awapuni on Saturday, 31 March.
At Pukekura in New Zealand, Haunui Farm's Gr2-winning shuttler Showcasing (Oasis Dream-Arabesque, by Zafonic) added a Group race success when 2YO New Zealand-bred gelding Bit Lippy (Showcasing-Ceramic, by Van Nistelrooy) finally opened his stakes account with a well-deserved win in the $70,000 Gr3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic (1200m) for 2YOs, defeating Platinum Mam'selle & Handsome Rebel. Bit Lippy improved his record to 1 win and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes & Gr3 Taranaki 2YO Classic) from 4 starts for NZ$77,400 in earnings. Trainer Wayne Hillis told NZ Racing Desk that he is considering running Bit Lippy in the Gr1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on 10 March and the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni three weeks later.
It may be considered strange to be eyeing off Gr1 features for a 2YO yet to break his duck, but trainer Wayne Hills is doing just that with exciting kiwi juvenile prospect Big Lippy. All three starts for the son of Showcasing have been in black-type company (two at Group level) and each has resulted in a placing, the most recent on New Year's Day where he rattled home at silly odds to finish runner-up to unbeaten filly Melt. According to NZTM, the Gr3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth on February 3 will be his next assignment. Bit Lippy's autumn programme will take in the Gr1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie and the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni where he is likely to enjoy the additional 200m.
In New Year's Day's opening feature race at Ellerslie in Auckland, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) added a group success when well-bred undefeated 2YO New Zealand-bred filly Melt (Iffraaj-Ticklish, by Maroof) justified strong betting support with a powerful finish to score by 0.8-lengths for trainer Nigel Tiley in the $70,000 Gr3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) for 2YOs. Runner-up gelding Bit Lippy (Showcasing-Ceramic, by Van Nistelrooy) made a mockery of his generous starting price to finish ahead of the filly She's A Thief (Showcasing-Steal, by Red Ransom). Melt has now won both of her race starts after scoring in dazzling fashion in the Listed Ashford Lodge Stakes ahead of I'm Lippy on debut in late November, and took her earnings to $73,250. "She can have a little bit of a break and she's not Karaka Million eligible so we'll get her back for the Sistema here and then have a crack at the Sires," Tiley told NZ Racing Desk. The Gr1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) will be run on March 10 with the Gr1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni three weeks later.
At Trentham in New Zealand, Haunui Farm's Gr2-winning shuttler Showcasing (Oasis Dream-Arabesque, by Zafonic) added a Group race success when 2YO New Zealand-bred filly Xpression (Showcasing-Xpress, by Don Eduardo) unwound a strong run from the rear of the field to win the $100,000 Gr2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1200m) for 2YOs, defeating Espumoso & Bit Lippy. Xpression, who hails from the family of Gr1 Underwood Stakes & Gr1 Doomben Cup winner Perlin and Karaka Million winner Hardline, improved her record to 1 win and 1 placing from 2 starts for NZ$64,750 in earnings. Haunui Farm studmaster Mark Chitty said he never had any thoughts of selling Xpression, whom he bred with childhood friend Iain Renton, reports NZ Racing Desk. "We were 13-year-olds together at King's College and Iain, whose father bred the Melbourne Cup winner Gold And Black, and I had three goes with Showcasing and this one was the best by a mile," Chitty said. "I said to Iain let's race her and we got a few others involved. It's very exciting." Xpression is now likely to be aimed at the Gr1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes next year.
At Pukekohe in New Zealand, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) added a black-type success when 2YO New Zealand-bred filly Melt (Iffraaj-Ticklish, by Maroof) unleashed a brilliant turn of foot late to post a stylish debut win in the $50,000 Listed Ashford Lodge 2YO Stakes (1100m) for 2YOs, defeating Bit Lippy & Flaunt It Girl. This was an auspicious start to Melt's career which now reads 1 win from 1 start for NZ$31,250 in earnings. Trainer Nigel Tilley said Melt had the makings of a top filly. "Her work on Thursday morning was as good as I've ever had a two-year-old work," he told NZ Racing Desk. "This filly is very good. We will be looking at some of those good races over Christmas for her." From the dual stakes winning mare Ticklish (NZ), Melt hails from the family of VRC Oaks runner-up Miss Scarlatti, Gr2-winning Zabeel mare Crimson, as well as VRC Derby winner Omnicorp & Gr2 Sandown Cup winner Pharostan.