Possible Slipper Runner for Northern Meteor
Gai Waterhouse can do no wrong in the lead up to the Group I ATC Golden Slipper next week, producing another contender at Rosehill on Saturday when the Gooree Stud homebred Speak Fondly scored a brave win in the Group II ATC Magic Night Stakes.
A daughter of the Gooree Stud bred Northern Meteor, Speak Fondly led throughout for Tommy Berry and fought on with great determination to win the 1200 metre dash by half a head from fast finishing Perignon.
Third on debut in the Listed ATC Gimcrack Stakes in the spring when she raced greenly, Speak Fondly was second in the Group II ATC Sweet Embrace Stakes two weeks ago and is obviously coming to her peak at the right time although a run in the Slipper is no certainty.
Gooree racing manager Monica Cummings said “there’s no urgency to make the decision” before acceptances close on Tuesday morning.
“I’ll have a talk to the boss (Eduardo Cojuangco) later today and we’ll go from there,” Cummings said.
“We’ll see how she pulls up and discuss what we do.”
Waterhouse said she’d allow the filly’s owners to make the decision suggesting the $500,000 Group III ATC Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 11 would be a suitable back-up plan.
A half-sister to Group II winner Wild and Proud, Speak Fondly 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 and (fittingly on Coolmore Classic day) Coolmore Classic 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 the 15th stakes-winner for ill-fated Northern Meteor, whose last crop of yearlings are being sold this year with 28 entered for the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.