Sixth Group One Winner for Northern Meteor
The loss of ill-fated Northern Meteor was again highlighted at Randwick on Saturday when the Gooree Stud homebred filly Speak Fondly scored a tenacious win in the Group I ATC Flight Stakes.
A last start second to explosive colt Exosphere in the Group I ATC Golden Rose, the Gai Waterhouse trained filly ran right up to that form in denying strong finishers Honesta and Perignon to win the 1600 metre feature by a short half head with Tommy Berry in the saddle.
“Tommy (Berry) sat there and sat there and I thought ‘oh my gosh, please go’,” Waterhouse said.
“Then of course when he let the throttle out, the other horse was breathing down his neck.
“She is as tough as teak, she is durable and you saw the form (franked) when the colt (Exosphere) won today and she ran second to him (Golden Rose).
“You can’t take anything away from her. She is the best three-year-old filly in Australia, she will go to the paddock now, back to Gooree where she was bred.
“She will come back in the autumn and win the Coolmore Classic. A top class filly is what you’ve seen today.”
A half-sister to Group II winner Wild and Proud, Speak Fondly has won four of eight starts earning over $870,000 in prizemoney and is the fifth winner from stakes-winning Flying Spur mare Blab, a half-sister to Group III winner Yammer from the family of Golden Slipper winner Bounding Away.
Bred and raced by the late TJ Smith, Bounding Away was the superstar filly of her time, but the family has been quiet of late so it’s nice to see Speak Fondly making an impression.
Her dam Blab died in 2013 and Speak Fondly is her final foal.
She is one of 19 stakes-winners for Northern Meteor, who has a plethora of sire sons now at stud with the very best of them Zoustar, producing some stunning foals this season.