A pair of Gerry Harvey-bred fillies quinellaed the 1000 metre event at Riccarton on Saturday seeing the Te Akau-purchased and trained Viva Vienna finish first and on target for the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.

Pictured \ Viva Vienna as a yearling (by Lesley Warwick)

Quality Westbury Fillies to Fore

Westbury Stud graduates Viva Vienna and Illicit Dreams drew serious attention to their upcoming three-year-old prospects when they quinellaed the 1000 metres age group event at Riccarton on Saturday.

The Gerry Harvey-bred pair of fillies both broke quickly from the barriers with the Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained Viva Vienna disputing the pace before taking control 250 metres from home.

The daughter of All Too Hard was willing in the closing stages for rider Sam Weatherley to hold the challenge of the Kenny Rae and Krystal Williams-prepared Illicit Dreams, who sat three wide on the pace, and rider Tegan Newman at bay.

“We had been really happy with her and her trial on a pretty testing track at Avondale had been good, we probably didn’t expect that as she didn’t handle a heavy track on race day,” Bergerson said.

“We did expect her to go well, it looked a nice race for her. The 1000 metres suited and she’s a tough little filly.”

Viva Vienna collected a brace of wins and two placings from her five juvenile appearances and Saturday’s success has her as a $14 chance for the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.

However, a more immediate target will be the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes back at Riccarton on September 16 and a likely renewal of her rivalry with Illicit Dreams, who won the Listed Champagne Stakes on the course last season.

Viva Vienna was bought out of Westbury’s draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale by Te Akau chief David Ellis for $100,000.

She is a daughter of the unraced Snitzel mare Anna Of Austria, whose three foals to race have all been successful and includes stakes placegetter Divine Innana.

Anna Of Austria is a half-sister to the Listed Geelong Classic winner Milestone and has a Swiss Ace yearling filly named Liechtenstein and is due to foal to El Roca.