Will it be like mother, like daughter, at Trentham on Saturday.
Cambridge filly Cheaperthandivorce will attempt to match her dam, Boundless, by winning the Group I Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.
Boundless won the 2008 NZ Oaks at long odds – and heading a $37,000 trifecta – but also ran second in the Australian Oaks in Sydney and won three more Group races as an older horse, including the Counties and Hawke’s Bay Cups.
The 2021 Oaks has drawn a quality field, headlined by odds-on favourite Amarelinha, but Cheaperthandivorce has more going for her than just a catchy name.
The Savabeel filly has had only five starts and was stepped up to Group company after winning a maiden in good style on debut. She tackled the Group II Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie at her second start but was never clear in the straight and then ran second behind the NZ Derby placegetter Milford in the Gingernuts Salver (2000m) at Ellerslie.
Cheaperthandivorce tackled the males again in the Waikato Guineas, making ground late for sixth and made ground well again when sixth, beaten just 1.5 lengths, in the Lowland Stakes at Hastings at her last start. She was held up on the turn and produced the fastest final 200m in the race.
It was a run that suggested she would be suited by roomy track and the step up to 2400m this weekend.
The modern NZ Oaks, which has been run at Trentham since 1974, is an amalgam of the NZ Oaks, previously run at Riccarton, the Great Northern Oaks at Ellerslie, and the Wellington Oaks, which had only a brief history. The 1974 edition had a stake of $24,000, which was less than half the $50,000 offered for the Wellington Cup at the same meeting.
Since 1974, no NZ Oaks winner has gone close leaving a winner of the same race, though Milzeel, a daughter of the 1993 winner Miltak, ran seventh in 2003.
An Oaks winner leaving a winner of the same race is not unheard of but is certainly rare. The Epsom Oaks in England has been run for more than 315 years but only nine winners have been a daughters of Oaks winners and just two in the last 120 years.
Midway Lady, the 1986 Epsom Oaks winner, is the dam of 2005 winner Eswarah and the 1899 winner Musa left the 1912 winner Mirska. Feramorz, a brother to Mirska, later stood at stud in New Zealand.
It is 13 years since Boundless won the Oaks, but the Van Nistelrooy mare has had no opportunity to leave an Oaks winner till now, as Cheaperthandivorce is in her sixth foal but her first filly.
However, Boundless has already proved that lightning can strike twice, as her best winner to date has been Richie McHorse, who became a second-generation Hawke’s Bay Cup winner.
The modern NZ Oaks winner who has had the biggest influence as a broodmare has been the 1999 victor Savannah Success.
Savannah Success is the dam of nine winners and while only one has been a stakeswinner, he was a beauty. The mare’s second foal was Savabeel, a Cox Plate winner and now a champion sire.
Savabeel, who is unchallenged as New Zealand’s premier stallion, has already left two New Zealand Oaks winners – Savaria and Savvy Coup – and will be represented by three runners – Amarelinha, Cheaperthandivorce, and Slave To Love – on Saturday.
Other NZ Oaks winners who have left Group I winners include Maurita, Domino and Candide. Maurita left two Group I winners in the northern hemisphere, Domino is the dam of the two Thousand Guineas winner Hero and Candide left the Blue Diamond Stakes winner and sire Nadeem.
Staring, the 1992 Oaks winner, left six winners but her most notable foal was the unraced Zabeel mare Stareel, who became the dam of champion galloper Dundeel.
Those looking to back a filly at long odds this weekend can take some comfort from history. Longshot winners have included Fanatic ($63.50), Boundless ($43,00) Supreme Glory ($38.85), Regal Empress ($32.25), Miss Mossman ($24.50), Sentimental Miss ($21.10) and Alacrity ($20.60).
The shortest-priced winner has been La Mer, who paid $1.20 when trouncing her rivals in 1977.