Trainer Gai Waterhouse has confirmed that Speak Fondly will contest the 2015 Golden Rose Stakes and Hong Kong-based hoop Brett Prebble is set to partner the talented filly in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
There were a great deal expected of Spean Fondly ahead of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and she started her campaign with a strong win in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 before she proved that win was no fluke with a dominant three lengths win in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on September 5.
The Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 3 is set to be the major spring goal for Speak Fondly, but Waterhouse will give the filly the chance to race the boys in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) and she believes that the daughter of Northern Meteor is the horse to beat.
“She’s made that weight-for-age transition you need to see when they come off their two-year-old season and turn three,” Waterhouse told News Limited.
“She’s a big, strong filly now, very much a different horse to the one we saw last season.
“She’s the horse to beat in the Golden Rose.
“She’s had two runs back from a spell, won them both effortlessly and now steps up to 1400m a very fit horse.”
Kerrin McEvoy has partnered Speak Fondly in her two race wins this preparation, but the talented hoop is already committed to riding in Melbourne for Makybe Diva Stakes Day this Saturday and is unable to take the ride on the filly in the Golden Rose Stakes.
Waterhouse has instead made the call to Brett Prebble for the first time since he steered Wandjina to victory in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington earlier this year and she is confident that the experienced jockey will be able to get the job done.
“Kerrin has done a brilliant job with her and we’re lucky that Brett wants to come and ride the filly as he’s a suitable replacement but he’s awaiting the approval of the jockey club,” Waterhouse said.
“Brett is a very strong rider and she will hold her own in the Golden Rose against the boys, don’t worry about that.”
Speak Fondly is currently available at 2015 Golden Rose Stakes odds of $8 with Ladbrokes and she is on the third line of betting behind Exosphere ($2.60) and Press Statement ($3.80).