Lightly raced filly Miss Layla (Burgundy x La Etoile) produced a dogged performance to upstage the pre-post favourites when she claimed the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton at just her third lifetime start.
The three-year-old daughter of Burgundy and former top racemare La Etoile had looked good winning in maiden company at Ashburton over 1400m earlier in the month but wasn’t expected to trouble some of the more fancied fillies in her first start in stakes company.
Nobody told Miss Layla that as she dominated from in front, setting up a steady speed before kicking strongly in the home straight.
Just as Cambridge visitor and race favourite Luella Cristina loomed up to win at the 200m, Miss Layla and rider Shankar Muniandy found again to deny her by half a length with the winner’s stablemate Madame Giselle finishing off strongly to produce a dream result for trainers Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong.
Furlong was delighted with the performance by both fillies, although they will most likely follow separate paths in the near future.
“She (Miss Layla) travelled well the whole way and while she was the least experienced in the race, she does have a real touch of class,” Furlong said.
“She handled the puggy track quite well and has come a very long way in a short time.
“We actually don’t have any plans for her and it may be she has a break now, but we won’t decide that until we see how she pulls up.
“I also thought Madame Giselle also went a beauty as we wanted her ridden a little more positively and she has finished things off nicely.
“She was really only warming up at the finish, so she needs more ground.
“Depending on how she recovers she might back up in the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m) here next weekend.”
Bred by the Skews Family Trust, who raced her dam La Etoile, Miss Layla was a $20,000 purchase by Robert Dennis out of the Kiltannon Stables draft during the Book 2 Yearling sale at Karaka in 2021.
Dennis prepared her in her early career before handing her on to Kennedy and Furlong when he decided to give full-time training away last year.
“Robert came to us and asked whether we would like to take a couple for him that he had been preparing,” Furlong said.
“We were more than happy to and it was obvious quite quickly that this one had a fair bit of ability, which she definitely showed today.”
Miss Layla’s dam La Etoile numbered the 2010 Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) amongst her five career wins, while she was also placed at stakes level on a further four occasions, including finishing fourth behind Daffodil in the 2008 Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1000m). – NZ Racing Desk