Val Di Zoldo (NZ) Lands Lowland Stakes

Frontier Bloodstock and Kinsale Bloodstock’s investment in Val Di Zoldo (NZ) (War Decree) was richly rewarded when the highly talented filly claimed her first black-type win in Wednesday’s $120,000 Group Two Little Avondale Stud Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Awapuni – the ninth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series.

Already a Group Three placegetter as a two-year-old, Val Di Zoldo was purchased for $285,000 from the Valachi Downs Unreserved Young & Racing Stock Dispersal on Gavelhouse Plus last winter. She has now had 11 starts for two wins, five placings, $125,640 in stakes and Wednesday’s prized victory at Group Two level.

Trained by Tony Pike at Cambridge, Val Di Zoldo had come close in several previous legs of the NZB Filly of the Year Series. She ran fourth in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), fourth in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic (1600m) and fourth in the Group Two Royal Stakes (2000m).

Pike dropped her back to maiden grade at Taupo on February 7, where she scored a confidence-boosting win, and on Wednesday she showed up at Awapuni with the black-type performance she had always looked capable of.

Ridden by premiership leader Michael McNab – who brought up his 100th win for the season – Val Di Zoldo cruised around the Awapuni track in second place before moving forward to throw down the gauntlet to the front-running Contagious (NZ) (Proisir) at the business end of the race.

That rival fought back courageously on her inside, but Val Di Zoldo slowly but surely gained the upper hand and edged ahead to score by a neck. Contagious took second by a length over Pennyweka (NZ) (Satono Aladdin).

Val Di Zoldo earned 8 points in the NZB Filly of the Year Series from Wednesday’s win, which puts her in fifth place on the points table. Placegetters Contagious and Pennyweka moved up to 6 and 5 points respectively.

Val Di Zoldo is now among the favourites for the final leg of the series, the $400,000 Group One Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 18.

“She’s been a promising filly all the way through and finished close up behind some good ones through her preparation,” Pike said. “She’s going to the right level at the right time and she looks great.

“I probably didn’t want to ride her that close, but with a couple of scratchings the speed dropped out of the race. I said to Michael to use the draw and be positive into the first corner and then work it out from there.

“She’s a versatile filly who can sit back off a hot tempo or race on speed on a slow tempo and she relaxes well, she’s a very laid-back filly.

“The timing has been perfect and Michael said she waited for them a touch when she got to the front, but she was strong through the line and it’s looking promising going toward the Oaks.”

Val Di Zoldo was bred by Kevin Hickman, and she raced in his colours as a two-year-old, placing in two of her three starts including the Group Three 2YO Classic (1200m).

Wednesday’s victory made Val Di Zoldo the first stakes winner for War Decree, who stands at Inglewood Stud in Canterbury.

Currently online is a 74 Lot mixed sale including a stallion nomination to War Decree with proceeds going to the Kingsclere Flood Relief Fund.


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