David Hayes was always going to have a soft spot for Stay With Me, a daughter of his favourite filly, the champion Miss Finland.
The trainer also has a high opinion of Stay With Me’s talent and hopes she can prove herself at Group One level as soon as Saturday when she attempts to emulate her mother in the Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
“She’s grown on me, Stay With Me, but I’m a bit of a fan now because I can just see traits in her as the preparation goes on she gets better,” Hayes said.
He said the three-year-old shares a lot of characteristics with her famous mother who won the race in 2006.
“I think in the next 12 months she might do Miss Finland-ish things. That’s what I’m hoping,” Hayes said.
“But she’ll never be Miss Finland because Miss Finland did it at two and she didn’t.
“I’m not sure if we’ll go for the Oaks (this spring). If she was good enough to win on Saturday we’d probably really set her a big autumn.”
Miss Finland was a dominant winner of the 2006 Golden Slipper after being runner-up in the Blue Diamond.
During her three-year-old season Miss Finland won the Thousand Guineas and VRC Oaks in the spring and another two Group Ones during her autumn campaign.
Stay With Me was placed in a stakes race behind Thousand Guineas rival Pasadena Girl on debut as a two-year-old before finishing fifth in a Golden Slipper lead-up in Sydney at her only other start as a juvenile.
She resumed with a convincing maiden win at Pakenham and then produced a strong finish to win the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The daughter of Street Cry was sixth in the Thousand Guineas Prelude last start but Hayes believes it can be a different story on Saturday from barrier four.
“She has come from two lead-up races from poor barriers and she suffered a bit because of it the other day,” Hayes said.
“It was a leader-dominated race. I think it will be a totally different story on Saturday. She’ll probably settle in the first half a dozen and she’ll be strong late.”