The Filly saddles up for Makfi Challenge

It’s a long way from a winter sprint at Trentham to the G1 Makfi Challenge at Hastings in August but trainer Murray Neal is confident The Filly can bridge the gap.

The Woodville-based owner-trainer will saddle up The Filly when she takes the next step towards that lofty goal in the Hiremaster Hcp (1200m) on Saturday.  “She’s a very, very good horse and this preparation I want to win the Makfi,” Neal said.  “She’s only had one start at 1400 metres and was beaten a half-length by Quintessential.

“She’s improved three lengths since her last run a fortnight ago after I had a couple of hiccups with her since Christmas.  She picked up a virus and that slowed us down a bit, but she’s fit as a fiddle now and right where I want her – she will be hard to beat.”

The Filly (4m Ishiguru – Bayline Beauty by Soviet Star) finished a brave fourth at her most recent appearance at Trentham and will again be ridden by Kane Smith.  “If she had gone bang, I would have put her on a plane to Brisbane, but we can do that next year,” Neal said.  “I will look at the Opunake Cup and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Hawera before having a crack at the Makfi.

“She will probably run every couple of weeks so I can keep on top of her and she’s better on top of the ground.  She is a half-sister to Groovy Guru, who got beaten at his first start by Veyron and then won, so it’s good stock.”

The Filly is from British bred mare Bayline Beauty who has already foaled the Ishiguru winners Go Legend (Hong Kong) & Ishigood (NZ) and the Singapore winners Hello Tommy (Volksraad) & On The Line (Kaapstad).

The Filly is Bayline Beauty’s last foal.  Neal bought the mare, when she was carrying The Filly, for $3,500 at the 2008 NZ Bloodstock National Sale.