Former New Zealand-trained filly Spanish Whisper made a stunning return to the winner’s circle on Saturday when she overcame a wide run to take out the Gr.2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
The Lope De Vega filly won two of her first four starts in New Zealand, including the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), for co-owners Darren Brady and Daniel and Elias Nakhle before they sold a controlling interest in her to clients of David Hayes' Lindsay Park stable in Victoria.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben Hayes and nephew Tom Dabernig, had told Daniel Nakhle that he believed the filly had returned for this campaign in better shape than in her first Australian preparation last spring where her best result was a runner-up finish in the Listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1200m) behind recent Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) winner Mystic Journey.
“She didn’t get a lot of luck in the spring, where they seemed to want to ride her on the pace, which was against the pattern of how she performed best in New Zealand,” Nakhle said.
“They gave her a good break and have adopted a more conservative approach to her racing style which looks to be paying dividends.
“She went a really good race for second first-up and that convinced me to get on a plane and come over for Saturday and I’m sure glad that I did.
“I am paying for the decision a little bit today though as I can hardly talk above a whisper as we were cheering her on pretty hard during the race and celebrating just as much afterwards.”
Nakhle spent time on Sunday morning at the Lindsay Park operation where he reported that Spanish Whisper looked to have come through her exertions well and was looking forward to the next stage of her campaign.
“She was very bright this morning and all reports from the team are that she seems to have handled the race really well,” he said.
“I think they are going to monitor her for a few days and then decide where she goes next. The two options they are looking at could be a run over 1600m at Moonee Valley in a fortnight or a trip up to Sydney for the Coolmore Legacy Stakes (Gr.1 1600m) next month.”
Nakhle was quick to pay tribute to the staff of New Zealand Bloodstock who were instrumental in securing Spanish Whisper’s dam, Cutting Remark for him and his partners.
“We got Cutting Remark from the Patinack Farm dispersal sale thanks to the guys at NZB,” he said.
“They had taken a look at what was going through that sale and made some recommendations to us.
“We liked several of the ones they put up on the list and ended up getting two mares from the sale including Cutting Remark who was in-foal to Lope De Vega.
“Spanish Whisper was the resulting progeny so we wouldn’t be here with her without that help that we got.
“We’ve had a Foxwedge colt out of her (Cutting Remark) along with a lovely Super Easy filly, so the win yesterday has really added some value to her sister even if she never makes it to the track.”
The only disappointment for Nakhle is that Cutting Remark missed getting in foal to champion sire Savabeel this season.
“She missed to Savabeel which is a bit of a blow, but she can have 12 months off, and we will have another go next year.” – NZ Racing Desk