After a short a break-up that worked out better for horse than jockey, Speak Fondly and Tommy Berry will be reunited at Randwick on Saturday to chase a Group One goal.
Berry rode the filly in two pre-campaign barrier trials but his spring commitment to stablemate and Golden Slipper winner Vancouver led Gai Waterhouse to book Kerrin McEvoy for Speak Fondly’s early runs.
“I had Vancouver going in the same direction as her and that’s why Gai chose to split us up and put Kerrin on her and leave me on Vancouver,” Berry said.
Vancouver’s spring was aborted after an indifferent first-up performance, while Speak Fondly scored dominant back-to-back wins in the Silver Shadow and Furious Stakes and was a game second to Exosphere in the Golden Rose with Brett Prebble aboard.
But with Prebble back in Hong Kong and McEvoy sidelined from Saturday’s meeting by a careless riding suspension, Waterhouse has called on Berry for the prized mount on the Flight Stakes favourite.
“It’s good to get back on her. It looks a perfect race for her,” Berry said.
“She’s the filly to beat. She has been quite dominant in her two wins and she’s hit the line stronger than anything else, suggesting she’ll run the mile out.”
Speak Fondly is one of four Flight Stakes runners for Waterhouse, who will be chasing her eighth win in the fillies feature.
She will also start Kimberley Star, to be ridden by Joao Moreira, along with Sempre Libera for Blake Shinn while Tim Clark sticks with Flamboyant Lass who backs up from her second in the Reginald Allen Quality at Rosehill.
Tea Rose Stakes winner Pearls is regarded as the biggest threat to Speak Fondly at $6.