“She’s a beauty!” was John Messara’s reply to one of many messages of congratulation after Stay With Me’s outstanding victory in Saturday’s $500,000 MRC Thousand Guineas 1600m G1.
It was an especially meaningful success for Messara, fellow owner-breeders Alan Jones & John Leaver, and the Arrowfield Stud team because Stay With Me is a home-bred daughter of Street Cry and champion filly Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice), and the 41st Group 1 winner bred by Arrowfield since 1985.
Miss Finland, bred & raced by the same three-way partnership, won the 2006 Thousand Guineas en route to Australia’s Champion 3YO Filly title and was trained by David Hayes, who now prepares Stay With Me with his nephew Tom Dabernig.
The race didn’t start well for Stay With Me who missed the jump, forcing jockey Dwayne Dunn to settle her near the rear of the field and ride for luck. However, that may have worked in the filly’s favour because she switched off while Take Pride set a solid pace up front.
Dunn began to push Stay With Me forward at the 600-metre mark and 300 metres later, just after the turn, the filly was in clear air with room to run. And run she did, hitting the lead 100 metres out to win by 1.75 lengths from Jameka, with Badawiya third. Stay With Me’s winning time was 1:35.89, a half-second faster than Press Statement ran to win the Caulfield Guineas thirty-five minutes later.
David Hayes said, “Top marks to Dwayne, he obviously had a lot of horse under him, but he rode her perfectly after the start she had.”
Criterion, winner of the Caulfield Stakes, and Stay With Me gave the stable a memorable Group 1 double.
Stay With Me has now won three of her six starts and taken her earnings to almost $420,000. A decision on the filly’s next start has yet to be made, but Hayes indicated that the VRC Oaks, MacKinnon Stakes & Myer Classic are all options under consideration.
Miss Finland, whose five Group 1 victories included the 2006 Golden Slipper, is also the dam of stakes-placed city winner Woodbine (by Hussonet) and a 2YO colt by More Than Ready, purchased for $500,000 by Katsumi Yoshida at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale. Arrowfield’s queen has since produced a 2014 filly by Animal Kingdom and she recently foaled a colt by Dundeel.
Stay With Me is the 18th Group 1 winner for her sire Street Cry, who died just over a year ago, and the fourth Group 1 winner for Redoute’s Choice as a broodmare sire, after Sacred Falls, Zoustar & Pasadena Girl, who finished a game fourth in the Thousand Guineas.