Talented mare Speak Fondly has produced another impressive effort to post a maiden win at the highest level at Royal Randwick over the weekend; mustering a big late turn of foot to take out the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m).
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Tommy Berry allowed the filly to stride forward and found an ideal position in transit on the heels of early leader and stable mate Flamboyant Lass who set a reasonable tempo away from the barriers and towards the bend.
Finding the fore of the field rounding onto the final straight, Berry immediately asked for an extra effort and Speak Fondly responded; pulling clear of the chasing pack but appeared to be completely out of gas with 100m to run; holding on for a gutsy win over Honesta and Perignon.
Berry conceded Speak Fondly probably didn’t get the mile of the 2015 Flight Stakes, but was impressed with the class displayed by the filly in registering the gutsy win.
“It is magic, especially when you are in close finishes,” Berry said.
“It is the best feeling in the world.
“Full credit to Gai, she has had this filly flying since day one.
“To be honest I’m not sure if she ran the mile out that well today, but she was just tough.
“I remember saying during the week that she is very similar to Sweet Idea and if you go back and watch a few of her replays they are exactly the same.
“She didn’t want to get beaten, it was as simple as that.
“She was a beaten horse at the 2000 and it didn’t feel like she ran the mile out at all, but she was just too good for them.”
Trainer Gai Waterhouse was understandably thrilled with Speak Fondly’s performance for success in the Flight Stakes and is confident the filly it yet to reach her best this time.
“I am over the moon,” Waterhouse said.
“It is great to see Tommy back in the saddle there and you can’t take anything away from her.
“She was there idling along and the grey was breathing down her neck and I thought heavens we are going to get beaten here and she just gave that little bit.
“You only need to give that little bit to win these races and that is what she did, gosh she is good.
“The form out of that Golden Rose is top class, she will come back and she will go on to win the Coolmore Classic.
“That is how good she is.”
In saddling Speak Fondly to success in the 2015 edition of the race, Waterhouse has now claimed an impressive eight Flight Stakes crowns.