Amarelinha’s superb victory in Saturday’s Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham has breathed new life into a quality family that Waikato Stud bought into almost two decades ago.
By all-conquering Waikato Stud stallion Savabeel out of the young O’Reilly mare Hopscotch, Amarelinha was bred by Waikato Stud and went through their Book 1 draft at Karaka 2019, where she was bought by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $300,000.
Two years on, Amarelinha has been a standout of her generation in New Zealand this season, winning five of her seven starts and more than $518,000 in stakes.
“It was a great win in the Oaks yesterday by an exciting filly who seems to have it all going for her,” Waikato Stud owner Mark Chittick said.
“She’s out of a great family, and she’s a filly with remarkable strength, power and athleticism. On top of that, she seems to love racing as well, which is such an important part of it. She’s been exciting to watch.”
Amarelinha is the very first foal out of the unraced Hopscotch, who is only eight years old and has emerged as a young star of the Waikato broodmare band. She has produced another three Savabeel fillies in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“It’s a fantastic start for a young mare,” Chittick said.
“This story goes back to the early 2000s, when we bought a package of mares off Roy Potter – a supermarket owner who at that stage was at Wellfield Lodge.
“He wanted to cut down his numbers, and we bought some of the mares that he sold. One of them was Jacqwin, who had a Zabeel filly at foot and was in foal to Zabeel again.
“We bred a number of horses from her over the next few years, including Metal Bender, who won four Group One races in Australia. We also managed to keep three of her daughters by O’Reilly – Hopscotch, Sitting Pretty and Polish.
“After Metal Bender, there was a little bit of a gap between absolute top-class horses in the family, but we always knew that with those three mares, it was a no-brainer that the family would bounce back.
“Hopscotch produced Amarelinha with her first foal, while Sitting Pretty’s got the Sydney Group Three winner Missybeel.
“Breeding from these quality O’Reilly mares, and sending them to Savabeel, it’s no surprise to get good horses as a result.”
Saturday’s Oaks win saw Amarelinha become the 22nd individual Group One winner for Savabeel, who is on track to win his seventh consecutive New Zealand sires’ premiership.
Remarkably, five of those elite performers have been out of O’Reilly mares – Costume, Savaria, Diademe, Embellish and Amarelinha, with the cross operating at 14 percent stakes winners to runners.
Other stakes performers from this cross include Group Two winners The Real Beel, Coldplay, Splurge and Chintz, exciting Australian three-year-old Mo’unga, and this month’s Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) runner-up Milford.
“It’s an amazing cross,” Chittick said.
“Mo’unga is another one from that same cross, and he’s the favourite for the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), which was postponed until next weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how he goes there next Saturday.
“It’s amazing for Savabeel to be up to 22 individual Group One winners now, he just keeps delivering.
“Something that we are really, really proud of at Waikato Stud is that we’ve bred three individual Group One winners this season – Aegon, Probabeel and Amarelinha, who are obviously all pretty serious horses.”
Amarelinha’s Trentham triumph was the highlight of a big weekend for Waikato, which started on Friday night with homebred mare Grand De Flora’s close second placing in the Gr.2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Now with four wins and a stakes placing from 11 starts, the four-year-old is by Savabeel out of Waikato Stud’s multiple Group One winner Daffodil.
“She ran a big race, and it was a bit frustrating to go so close but come up agonisingly short of that Group win,” Chittick said. “But it seems as though she’s matured this time in, and hopefully it continues. It would have been nice to get that Group win on Friday, but hopefully she’ll build on that and find those extra few millimetres to go one better.
“It’s been a big weekend, picking up a maiden win at Tauranga with Tonya (a three-year-old filly by Ocean Park out of Pins on Ice), while our Group One placegetter Cornflower Blue (by Savabeel out of Tiffany Yellow) ran a very good race for third in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m).” – NZ Racing Desk