Boutique Hunter Valley breeder Bruce Neill of Cressfield looks to have a lovely filly in the shape of Merited (3f Fastnet Rock x Jeu de Cartes, by Stravinsky), who made it two wins in as many starts at Sandown on Wednesday.
In contrast to her debut win where she stormed home, Merited took up the running after making a fast start for Thomas Stockdale. While feeling the pinch over the last 100 metres Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained filly held the challenge of the challengers too win the 1400m contest by a long head.
“She’s a very talented filly, naturally versatile. It was well summed up by young Thomas (Stockdale) who I think is a very promising young jockey,” said Michael Kent Jnr. ‘
“She flew the gates so there was no use dragging her back, got a comfortable lead, was rated well and gave a good kick.’
“She a lovely filly with scope to go further. Mum won a Group II in New Zealand, she is a lovely daughter of Fastnet Rock that, possibly next prep, will get over further and get some black-type for the owners.”
Retained to race after passing in shy of her $500,000 reserve when offered by Cressfield at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Merited is the third winner from three foals to race from Stravinsky’s Group II winning daughter Jeu de Cartes (NZ).
Jeu de Cartes was a tough stayer that won nine races from 1600 to 2200m and is a half-sister to Group I Australian Derby winner Nom du Jeu from dual Group I winner Prized Gem, who won a Kelt Capital Stakes in New Zealand and a Brisbane Cup in Australia.
Given the depth of staying talent in her female family it’s hard not to think connections wouldn’t be dreaming of Oaks goals for Merited in 2020.
If she is successful, Merited won’t be the first Oaks winner bred by Fastnet Rock from a Stravinsky mare with the nick already producing VRC Oaks winner Mosheen as well as four other stakes-winners, the nick running at 12.8% stakes-winners to runners and nearly 80% winners to runners.
Jeu de Cartes has foaled this spring producing a colt by Fastnet Rock’s champion son Merchant Navy.
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