The Filly returns to best form

The Filly coasting home in the hands of Mark Hills at Ellerslie yesterday. (Photo: Trish Dunell/ NZ Racing Desk).

The Filly coasting home in the hands of Mark Hills at Ellerslie yesterday. (Photo: Trish Dunell/ NZ Racing Desk).

Cambridge jockey Mark Hills added to his good record on The Filly at Ellerslie yesterday with the promise of more success to come over the next few months.

Hills guided The Filly to a decisive win in the Edwards Sound Chairman’s Trophy (1400m), scoring by two and a quarter lengths from Queens Rose with the hardy old boy John Gray a sound third.

Hills’ first win on The Filly came in the corresponding event last year after having ridden her just once previously, two starts earlier when third to I Do in the Listed Windsor Park Stud Rotorua Stakes at Rotorua.

Since then Hills has been aboard The Filly on a further 10 occasions for two more wins and three other placings with the most significant efforts being a win over Group One winner I Do in the Gr. 3 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes at Hawera last October and a third to I Do three starts earlier in the Gr. 3 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.

The Filly picked up further black-type when again third in the Listed Windsor Park Stud Rotorua Stakes, this time behind Fascination Street and Platinum Witness at Rotorua earlier this month.

On the strength of that performance she looked a strong chance at Ellerslie last Saturday, but disappointed when finishing second-last, seven and a half lengths behind the winner, Twilight Dragon.

Murray Neal, who co-bred, part-owns and trains The Filly, blames himself for that failure. “I left her a bit fat last week and the track told on her,” he explained. “Today she was like she was when she won at Taranaki, nice and relaxed.”

Though the Ellerslie track was still rated heavy yesterday, it was markedly improved than a week earlier and The Filly was travelling much better throughout the contest, while Twilight Dragon dropped out to finish last.

“The other week she went too keenly outside the leader, but today she tracked into the race nicely and travelled good,” said Hills.

The Filly has now won 10 races and over $240,000 and Neal believes she is ready to add more to the kitty.

“She is better this year, stronger,” he said. “I’m over the moon.

“She will now go to the Tauranga Classic then the Opunake Cup and Foxbridge Plate and we’ll then look at the Makfi. She loves Hawke’s Bay and I want to win a Group One.”