Nikita wins Warstep for Ritchie

Nikita (Sam Collett) finished best to win today's NZB Warstep Stakes at Riccarton for Cambridge trainer Shaune Ritchie.

Nikita (Sam Collett) finished best to win today’s NZB Warstep Stakes at Riccarton from Tuilana and Showemup (rails).

The third placing of Invercargill filly Showemup landed her the NZ Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year title at Riccarton today, but Cambridge filly Nikita gave it her best shot.

Showemup’s effort saw her take the title with nine points after gathering seven points for her win in the final lead-up, the Listed NZ Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes at Riccarton a fortnight earlier, and a further two for today’s effort.

Nikita had also contested the Airfreight Stakes and just failed to earn points when fourth, but even with her win today (earning seven points) she would have been just short of taking the title had Showemup missed a dividend-bearing placing.

Going into today’s final leg Starvoia, from John and Karen Parsons’ stable, had the lead in the series with eight points from her game seconds in legs one and two and would have won the title but Showemup sneaked past her with her third placing in the Warstep Stakes.

Ritchie also prepared No Pushover, who shared last year’s title through her win in an earlier leg of the series and finished sixth in the Warstep Stakes.

Nikita was ridden by Alysha Collett when fourth in the NZB Airfreight Stakes and it was her cousin, Sam, who climbed aboard and guided her to today’s stakes win.

Nikita settled in behind the leaders Showemup and her stablemate Portumna Lass with the favourite Grand Soleil alongside.

Showemup looked likely to score when clear halfway down the home straight, but Nikita responded to Collett’s urgings and got up late to win by a neck from Tuilana with Showemup a further three-quarters of a length back, while Grand Soleil weakened to a distant fifth.

Nikita, now the winner of two of her 11 starts, will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Bluegables Farm principals Monty and Judy Henderson.

They bred and part-own the filly who became the first black-type winner for their resident stallion Shamoline Warrior, a Group Three-winning son of Shamardal.

“That was excellent and we’ve also got a full-sister here,” Monty Henderson said. “We sold a half-sister by Mastercraftsman to John Sargent, the mare has got a Niagara yearling and she is in foal to Super Easy.”

Henderson bought the dam Springburn in Sydney and subsequently the mare’s daughter Happy Hippy became a multiple stakes winner and was Group One placed.

“The grand-dam Lady Violet holds the Australasian record of having had 17 foals in a row,” he said.

Nikita would have been sold but for suffering a back injury just before NZB’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka in 2015 and the Hendersons now race her with Victorian syndicator Kirk Devers, who enjoyed a racing share in Shamoline Warrior and also raced No Pushover.