The Filly a welcome addition to Cambridge horsepower

The Filly has ticked the first box in an ambitious programme which has seen her owner and trainer Murray Neal shift north from Woodville to Cambridge.

Neal, who also bred the Ishiguru mare, has his sights set on northern Group One sprints leading to a trip to Australia.

“I shifted up to Cambridge last Wednesday and I’ve got her stabled at Graeme Lord’s place and I’m living with my brother, Peter,” said Neal. “I’ve done it for The Filly. I’ve looked after her from day one and now is the time to put some acid on her.

“I was apprenticed to Brian Deacon from back in 1976 and I got to ride some good horses in work so I know the feel of a good one. She’s something special, a classy act and she deserves a crack at the big races. She’s as good as anything around.”

The Filly shifted base with a record of seven wins and nine placings from 19 starts and started the adventure in good style when third behind Waterford in last Saturday’s Listed BNZ Partners Counties Bowl at Pukekohe.

“It was the first time she had raced for three months and the first time that way round,” said Neal. “It was also the first time Noel (Harris) has ridden her and he was impressed. That’s why I put him on, so he could get a feel of her.

“She’s come through the race really well. She hasn’t left an oat and she’ll improve three or four lengths on that first-up run.”

The Filly will start next in Gr. 3 $70,000 Aussie Butcher Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday week then return to Ellerslie for the Listed $50,000 Hallmark Stud Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on December 26 before backing up in the Gr. 1 $200,000 Sistema Railway Stakes (1200m) on New Year’s Day.

“She thrives on racing and she’s even better when she backs up,” said Neal. “Backing up from the Newmarket Handicap to the Railway will really suit her.”

Neal also has the Gr. 1 Waikato Draught Sprint at Te Rapa in February on The Filly’s programme. “Then, all going well, we’ll be off to Aussie,” he said. “She’s up to it.”