A Friday trial at Randwick’s Kensington track is the next step towards a 2016 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival return for Gai Waterhouse’s Group 1 winning filly Speak Fondly.
The three-year-old daughter of Northern Meteor boasts a super consistent career record of four wins, two seconds and a third from eight starts to date and was last seen winning last October’s Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m).
That followed a stellar campaign that also included two Group 2 wins at the same Randwick track – the Silver Shadow Stakes and Furious Stakes against her own kind.
Speak Fondly was also far from disgraced in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) when second to Exosphere in the elite level feature, her first run at Rosehill since a failed 11th to Vancouver in the autumn’s Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1400m).
The John O’Shea-trained Golden Rose Stakes winner Exosphere returns to racing this Saturday as one of the standout entries in the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
Speak Fondly, who had a nose to spare over Honesta for her Flight Stakes success, meanwhile will run in the second heat at Randwick on Friday morning over 850m in an open trial.
Waterhouse also has her last start Warwick Farm winner Al Nader engaged in the hit-out that features the likes of Villiers Stakes winner Happy Clapper, the consistent Peter & Paul Snowden-trained four-year-old mare Artistry and Godolphin’s Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes – Ranvet Stakes double winner last autumn Contributer.
While Speak Fondly’s return to Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge stables was later than first expected, her trainer is pleased with how she has come back and is looking forward to locking in a campaign kick-off for her.
“She’s very good,” Waterhouse told Racenet.
“She came in later, they (Gooree) held her back so she’s a little bit behind the eight ball.
“She trials on Friday and then I’ll work her program out from there. I just want to see where she is at and Friday will give me a good guide on that.
“She’s strengthened up again and I think once she is ready, people are going to see a pretty special filly.”
Speak Fondly is nominated for a number of upcoming autumn features during Sydney’s The Championships held over the first two Saturdays in April.
On Day 1, April 2, she is in the mix for the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) named in honour of Waterhouse’s late father Tommy Smith.
Then on April 9 the filly is also nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) over the Randwick mile.
Futures TJ Smith Stakes betting is led by Chautauqua ($3.80) who runs first-up in the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning on Saturday, while Speak Fondly is rated a $34 chance for the sprint.
Waterhouse has prepared a record eight Queen Of The Turf Stakes winners over the years including four of the past five with More Joyous (2011-12), Diamond Drille (2014) and Amanpour (2015).
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