Always An Angel Sparkles in Diamond Classic

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Always An Angel (NZ) (Art Major) made history at Gloucester Park on Friday night when her incredible display of stamina notched the first Group One win by a filly graduate of NZB Standardbred. 

Photo: RWWA Harness


Barrier 12 and a tough trip, three-wide for the last lap of the A$100,000 Two-Year-Old Fillies Diamond Classic (2130m), were not enough stop the 2019 National Yearling Sale purchase from justifying her hot favouritism.


The COVID-19 pandemic and previous shutdown of harness racing in New Zealand had prevented many graduates from racing for Group One glory but, Always An Angel showed nothing could stop the incredible success of New Zealand-breds with her decisive win.


Always An Angel never flinched, despite her tough trip, cementing her status as Western Australia’s top Two-Year-Old filly by scoring by more than two and a half lengths.


The Group One victory for driver Gary Hall Jnr took the star pacer’s record to five wins from six starts and A$87,607 in stakes for trainer Justin Prentice.


Prentice told media after Friday night’s race he intends to spell Always An Angel following her breakout victory.


The trainer secured Always An Angel for $55,000 from the 2019 NZB Standardbred National Yearling Sale at Karaka.


The classy filly from Angel Of Destiny (NZ) (Christian Cullen), was bred and offered by dual code breeders, Chris and Tina Barlow, of Highfields Bloodstock.


Tina Barlow described the filly as very strong type with a standout conformation.


“She is probably the nicest filly we have bred.”


“She was absolutely beautiful – a standout filly.”


Though she had the look of a future star, Barlow admitted she was slightly surprised the filly stepped out publicly in February of her two-year-old year. 


“She was quite a big and strapping filly, so it was a little surprising she has gone so early.”

“But, she has obviously kept her strength because some of her wins have been really impressive.”


Always An Angel followed in the footsteps of her close relative, Harness Jewels winner Onlyforyou (NZ) (Art Major), with her Gloucester Park win.


The two-year-old’s dam, Angel Of Destiny, is a half-sister to Group One performer for trainer Cran Dalgety.


Both Always An Angel and Onlyforyou are by star sire, Art Major.


Angel Of Destiny is back in foal to Art Major and due to foal a full-sibling to Always An Angel in the upcoming breeding season.


The pair are not the only big race performers on their impressive pedigree pages.


They also include another Art Major pacer, Heisenberg (NZ), who recently broke the New Zealand record for 2400m. 



Highfields Bloodstock


Mr J Prentice


Art Major x Angel of Destiny


Lot 110, 2019 Auckland Sale, $55,000

Bred by

Chris and Tina Barlow