Group Two Winner for Sebring

 In 2017

Well known New Zealand breeder Kevin Hickman might have another Oaks filly on his hands in the shape of promising Sebring filly She Brings Joy, who broke her maiden to win the Group II Stella Artois Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.

She Brings Joy had hinted a step up in distance would suit when finishing on well for sixth over 1600 metres in the Group II Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day won by Volpe Veloce.

Settled back in the running that day, rider Danielle Johnson changed her tactics this time as she sat the handsome chestnut filly in the trail throughout as Adis set a slow pace out in front.

Adis was set alight entering the home straight which allowed Johnson to extricate She Brings Joy from the trail and she set out after the leader who had established a healthy break.

Johnson was at her vigorous best as she lifted She Brings Joy at the line to snatch victory by a nose in the 2000 metre staying test from a game Adis.

Trainer Stephen Marsh was full of praise for the effort when questioned after the race.

“I rode her that hard in the last furlong that with me on top I didn’t know if I had got her beat,” he laughed.

“I can’t believe this horse was still a maiden. She’s been probably our most promising maiden for a long time.

“I thought she’d win first up and then second up but it’s just those bad draws that have plagued us. Finally today she drew a barrier.”

Marsh is already thinking ahead for the filly who brought up his second successive victory in the event having scored with Sofia Rosa last year.

“She’ll have a little break now as we’ve given it to her a bit,” he advised.

“She has got a nomination for the Oaks so that’s our real focus now.”

Marsh will be hoping the filly can go one better than stablemate Sofia Rosa who was relegated to second in the 2016 edition of the Group I New Zealand Oaks before going on to capture the Group I Australian Oaks later in the season.

She Brings Joy is bred and raced by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman and is the first winner for In the Mood (IRE), a placed grand-daughter of French Group II winner Grecian Urn from a family noted for it’s stayers.

She Brings Joy is the 23rd stakes-winner for Widden Stud’s star sire Sebring, who has a rare versatility to sire both sprinters and middle distance horses.

Sebring has 39 entries for Magic Millions and to see them click here.