Maiden Of The Week

No Filter (NZ)

3 g Toronado – Essayez by Excellent Art

O: M I & R Brady, W Bryson, G J Burke, D A Channing, R D Collett, L B Crockford, P Murphy, B A & B G Wilson

B: Mystery Downs

T: Richard Collett

S: 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, Book 2 V: Brighthill Farm P: Collett Racing Stables, $18,000

W: Inglis Ready2Race Sale October 20th Maiden Plate, 1100m, September 13, Taupo

Trainer Richard Collett turned up at Taupo on Sunday hoping that his Toronado (High Chaparral) gelding No Filter would live up to expectations with a win at his first start.

The three-year-old had trialled twice, winning both times – the first over 800 metres at Te Aroha in December, before adding a Ruakaka 1050-metre heat in early August.

Off the back of his trials, No Filter was sent out the $2.40 favourite in Sunday’s 1100-metre three-year-old maiden. Collett, however, didn’t share punters’ enthusiasm – at least not openly.

“No Filter is a slow-maturing horse with good amount of ability, who has trialled well,” he told NZ Racing Desk pre-race. “He will go a nice race, but under raceday conditions he might lack a bit of early speed to use his draw (barrier three) and hold a spot. If he is running home strong, I will be happy. He has never been off the bridle in a gallop or trial, so we don’t know how good he is.”

For once, both the expectations of the trainer and the betting public matched up as No Filter finished off strongly to take the spoils, with racecaller George Simon quipping: “He’s got a bit of quality about him!”

Jumping well, he wasn’t ridden to muster up early by Andrew Calder but was allowed to find his feet midfield on the rails. 

The speed slackened in front after a furlong, causing many runners to begin to reef and tear, but apart from a stride or two, No Filter showed natural professionalism throughout. 

Approaching the turn, he looked in a hopeless position one-off the fence as he was shuffled back through the field, but he was always travelling strongly as Calder pulled him behind runners and across to the centre of the track. 

Another debutant Kahma Lass (Darci Brahma), sporting the Brendan and Jo Lindsay yellow and black checks, raced up at the 150 metres and looked the likely winner – at least for a nanosecond. However, when No Filter was unleashed on the outside, he did so with such ease as to put the race beyond doubt.

While Kahma Lass did stick with No Filter for a few bounds, No Filter eventually raced on by to score a facile three-quarter length victory over the filly; Gee Cee (Sacred Falls) rattled home to finish third, a further length and a quarter away.

In a sign of the strength of the maiden, using NZ Racing’s new sectionals tool, the first three across the line were the only three horses on the Taupo card to break 22 seconds for the final 400 metres, with No Filter recording a race-fastest 21.69 seconds for the final quarter-mile.

No Filter is the first foal out of Essayez (Excellent Art), a three-time winner at Ascot in Western Australia as a two-year-old who was precocious enough to gain a start in the Karrakatta Plate (Gr 2, 1200m) in 2015.

Sent to Swettenham Stud shuttler Toronado in her first season at stud in 2016, having been purchased for just AUD$1,000 at the Magic Millions Perth Winter Mixed Sale that year, Essayez was then sent through the Inglis Great Southern Sale in foal to Toronado.

Toronado stands for $27,500 (inc GST) this season at Swettenham Stud.

Purchased at the 2017 Great Southern Sale for AUD$40,000 by Francis and Christine Cook’s Mystery Downs as a mare suitable to send to Brighthill Farm’s new acquisition that year, Preferment (Zabeel), Essayez was in New Zealand by late June, foaling down in September with the colt that would become No Filter.

No Filter was an NZ$18,000 purchase for Collett Racing Stables at last year’s Karaka Book 2, a purchase that could pay dividends down the line. 

By comparison, his year-younger Preferment half-brother sold for NZ$120,000 to Chris Waller and Mulcaster Bloodstock at this year’s Karaka Book 2, having fetched NZ$34,000 as a weanling in May last year. The now two-year-old is in training with Waller, who also prepared Preferment to win four Group 1 races, but remains unnamed.

She has produced another Preferment colt, while she is once again in foal to the Brighthill Stud resident, who stands for NZ$9,500 (plus GST) this year.

The family dates back to 1999 Silver Shadow Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) winner Katima (Zeditave), No Filter’s third dam. Others in the family include stakes winners Spring Heat (More Than Ready), Deferential (Royal Academy) and Eusebio (Benfica), as well as Malaysian Triple Crown winner Speed Baby (Fastnet Rock).