At Riccarton in New Zealand, Waikato Stud's deceased Gr1 Australian Guineas-winning stallion Pins (Snippets-No Finer, by Kaoru Star) added a black-type success when 3YO New Zealand-bred filly Emily Margaret (Pins-Seven Schillings, by O'Reilly) opened her stakes account when landing the $50,000 Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) for 3YO fillies, defeating Wekaforce & Quattro Katie. Purchased for $55,000 at the 2017 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Trelawney Stud, Emily Margaret improved her record to 2 wins and 2 placings from 4 starts for NZ$48,000.
A clash of the islands was won by the locals in the first leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year series, the $50,000 Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton on Saturday. Home-town hopes rested with Select Sale graduate Emily Margaret (Pins) who defeated the highly rated northern raider Wekaforce (Showcasing) by a half length. “It was a good, tough win,” co-trainer Kevin Hughes told NZ Racing Desk. “I thought that Wekaforce was the one to beat and they really set down to a ding-dong battle in the home straight. I know how tough my filly is, so I was hoping she would see it out. She loves a scrap." Emily Margaret earned 7 Southern Filly Series points with Saturday’s win. Runner-up Wekaforce collected 4 points, with 2 points for third-placed Quattro Katie (Zoustar). The Series will now pause until the autumn, with the remaining three legs being the Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1400m) on March 2, the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m) on April 6 and the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) on April 13.
Meanwhile, Saturday's $50,000 Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton Park marks the beginning of the 19th New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series. The Series has been held since the 2000-01 season and covers four Listed races over 1200, 1400, 1600 and 2000 metres. The Canterbury Belle, which has been won by top-class fillies such as the Gr1 winners Tartan Tights, Dorabella and La Diosa, has drawn another quality field this year, including the highly regarded Emily Margaret. The New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes will be run as Race 9 on Saturday with a start time of 4.09pm. Click here to view commentary on each runner.