Gai Waterhouse could have a genuine Golden Rose contender after all with Speak Fondly staking her claim with a dominant victory in the Furious Stakes at Randwick.
The owners of Waterhouse’s long-time Golden Rose favourite Vancouver made the decision on Friday to bypass next week’s $1 million race.
And English, who ran second to her stablemate Vancouver in the Golden Slipper, was withdrawn from Saturday’s Group Two Furious (1200m) with Waterhouse saying she had not grown as much as she would have liked from her juvenile season.
Speak Fondly, who is owned by Gooree Stud, has had no maturity problems, adding the Furious to her Silver Shadow Stakes win to prompt Golden Rose talk.
“She is in it and she might win the Golden Rose, but I’ll have to speak to the owners first,” Waterhouse said.
“This filly will win the (Group One) Flight Stakes. She is outstanding.”
Monica Barrera Cummings, who manages the Gooree interests in Australia for her grandfather Eduardo Cojuangco, left the door to the Golden Rose open.
“I’ll leave it up to the trainer,” she said.
Speak Fondly, the $2.40 favourite, kicked away from the field in the straight with Kerrin McEvoy guiding her to the line 2-3/4 lengths in front of Perignon ($12) who finished a close second to her when they met in the autumn.
Godolphin filly Ottoman ($4.60) finished another three-quarters of a length third.
Perignon’s trainer Gerald Ryan said there were no thoughts of backing the filly up in the Golden Rose with the Tea Rose Stakes the following week her aim.
“I’m very pleased with how she has come back,” he said.
“And she will be much better on a firmer track.”