Nkosikazi wins the Group 3 Hoppings Fillies Stakes

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Nkosikazi (GB) took full advantage of a tactical affair to gain her first Pattern race success in Group 3 Betfair Exchange Hoppings Fillies Stakes on Saturday at Newcastle. Having landed a 10-furlong handicap at Redcar on her 5-year-old bow, Olivia Hoare’s grey set a moderate tempo which led to the 5-4 favourite Virgin Snow pulling in behind. Joined and headed by that daughter of Snow Fairy two out, the 9-4 second favourite regained the advantage in the last furlong as that rivals tank emptied. At the line, Nkosikazi had 2 1/2 lengths to spare. Initially with Brian Meehan, Nkosikazi was thought capable of an ambitious tilt at the 2018 Group 1 Coronation Stakes as a maiden but was soundly beaten in 10th before her sights were lowered. Transferred to William Haggas at the end of that season, she built up a promising profile with third placings in a Premier Fillies Handicap and the Listed River Eden Fillies Stakes at Lingfield in October. Following a progressive year on the track in 2019, Lillingston Bloodstock purchased Nkosikazi at the Tattersalls December Sale for 220,000gns.

Nkosikazi is a half-sister to last year’s Group 2 Superlative Stakes runner-up and Group 2 Champagne Stakes third Juan Elcano, who was fifth in the Group 1 2000 Guineas this month. Her dam Whatami is a half-sister to the Group 3 Premio Sergio Cumani winner Whazzis and a full-sister to the Listed Chesham Stakes winner Whazzat, who is in turn the dam of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes scorer and G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest runner-up James Garfield. The third dam is the excellent producer Eljazzi, the dam of the G1 Prix de Diane heroine and stellar broodmare Rafha whose progeny list is headed by the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup hero and leading sire Invincible Spirit.

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