Gray’s Filly Stakes Oaks Claim

Kevin Gray has enjoyed a long and rewarding association with Waikato Stud and he has another graduate of the Matamata nursery primed for classic success after High Fashion triumphed in the Gr 3 Bruce Perry Bloodstock Lowland Stakes. The Palmerston North-based trainer is now looking to add to his record in the Gr 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks with the three-year-old who was a dominant winner of the 2100 metre feature at Hastings.

“I think the further they go the better she will be,” Gray said. “She’s a very good filly and I’m lucky to have her in my stable.” Gray won the Oaks in 2006 with the Waikato Stud-bred and owned Legs (Pins), who later added the Group One Kelt Capital Stakes to her CV, and he also prepared the Chittick family’s Daffodil (No Excuse Needed) to land the Group One AJC Oaks in 2009. She subsequently also won the Gr 1 Windsor Park Plate.

Ironically, High Fashion accounted for Chandelier, who carries the Matamata farm’s familiar stylised colours, at Hastings with the race proving to be a benefit for the stud’s champion resident stallion O’Reilly. He sired the trifecta with Emerald Queen taking third money.

High Fashion, who had won the Gr 3 Tiger Prawn Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham two starts ago, settled well back in the field before rider Hayden Tinsley asked her to make a run across the top. The response was immediate and the filly dashed around runners to loom menacingly at the top of the straight before bounding away to win by two lengths. “I said to Mr Gray that there was a bit of pace and they would go hard and not to panic if I was back there,” Tinsley said. “I gave her a slap at the 800 and she went quicker than I expected.”

Waikato Stud also enjoyed a Group One result in Melbourne with the lightly-tried Savabeel filly You’re So Good finishing runner-up in the Australian Guineas at Flemington. She was an $80,000 yearling in 2011 and is out of Lightning Spur, a half-sister to the Gr 1 TJ Smith Stakes and Winter Stakes winner Melito.

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