First-starter Harlow will carry the sponsors’ hopes in the opening race at Te Rapa tomorrow, the Te Akau Racing – Three Times Karaka Million Winner Premier.
The $30,000 race is a 1200-metre event for two-year-olds, mimicking the Karaka Million which the Te Akau team has won with superstar fillies Melody Belle (2017), Avantage (2018) and Probabeel (2019).
A $41,000 purchase at last year’s South Island Sale by Te Akau principal David Ellis, Harlow has placed in all of her three trials. She has drawn the outside gate in an eight-horse field tomorrow and will be ridden by Matt Cameron.
Her debut appearance could be a stepping stone to Group Two level later this month for the daughter of first-season Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir.
“Harlow is a filly that we really like,” trainer Jamie Richards told www.theinformant.co.nz this week. “She’s shown a lot at home and her trials have been encouraging.
“I’d love to give her a chance to get into the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes, and this race on Saturday gives her that opportunity. I was pleased with her work on Tuesday morning and she’s heading into the race in good order.”
The Matamata Breeders’ Stakes, to be held at Harlow’s home track on February 23, has been won by Te Akau fillies Te Akau Coup (2008), Te Akau Rose (2009) and Gold Fever (2017) in recent years, along with placings by the likes of Corsage, Miss Thorn, Sassy ’N’ Smart and The Real Beel.
Harlow is one of three first-starters in tomorrow’s field, along with trial winners Moeraki (El Roca) and Sherwood Forest (Fastnet Rock).
Maybeashowoff beat Probabeel at Te Rapa in November, while Rainbow Dash won her only start and was balloted out of the Karaka Million.