A talented field of 11 fillies will clash in the ninth leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series, the $70,000 Group 3 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
In a significant week for the Series, the ninth leg comes just two days after the eighth – the $70,000 Group 3 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on Thursday.
Saturday's Sunline Vase provides the opportunity for fillies to build towards the Series finale, the $300,000 Group 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 18, and in the process make big moves up the leader board.
Only one runner in Saturday's field already has Filly of the Year Series points to her name – Date Night (NZ) (Savabeel), who earned 2 points for running third in the Group 2 Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day.
The top-rated runner in the field is Eleonora (NZ) (Makfi), who made a name for herself in Melbourne in the spring with a Group 3 win in the Ethereal Stakes (2000m) before running third in the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington.
Sacred Rhythm (NZ) (Pentire) represents the owner-trainer combination of Raffles Racing and Cambridge's Tony Pike. That team has won this race twice in recent years with More Than Sacred (More Than Ready) and Rock Diva (NZ) (Lucky Unicorn). Sacred Rhythm has had three starts for two wins including last month's Listed Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth.
The winner of Saturday's Sunline Vase will pick up 6 points, with 3 points for the runner-up and 1.5 for third.
The Sunline Vase will be run as race 6 on Saturday at 3.31pm.