Three three-year-old races have been upgraded by the New Zealand Pattern Committee.
The Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings has been upgraded from Group Three to Group Two and the Partners Life Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie has been promoted from Listed to Group Three. Both races are confined to fillies.
The Shaw’s Wires Ropes Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m), a three-year-old race run at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, has been upgraded to Listed status.
No other changes were made to the black type schedule.
The Lowland Stakes has become an outstanding guide to the New Zealand Oaks. The last two Lowland winners – Savvy Coup and Bonneval – went on to win the Oaks and Sofia Rosa, the 2016 winner, was first past the post in the Oaks, before being relegated to second. In addition, both Bonneval and Sofia Rosa won the Australian Oaks.
The first three placegetters in this year’s Lowland finished in the top four in the New Zealand Oaks and the first four placegetters in the 2017 Lowland also filled the first four placings in the Oaks. Fanatic, the 2016 New Zealand Oaks winner, ran fourth in the Lowland and Strada Cavallo was placed in both the Lowland and Oaks that season.
The Soliloquy, won last season by Dijon Bleu, was transferred to a late-October date three years ago and has since consistently rated above the benchmark required for a Group III fillies race.
The Uncle Remus Stakes has produced exceptional ratings for a non-listed race in the past three years, when won by Xtravagant, Hall Of Fame and Age of Fire.