WARRNAMBOOL-trained mare Spirit Song finished only a long neck from scoring the biggest win of her career when she was nosed out by Solzhenitsyn in the $400,000 group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
Trainer Aaron Purcell described the second placing of Spirit Song in the 1600-metre race as the highlight of his training career.
“It does not get much better than having a second placing in a group 1 race,” he said.
“Spirit Song has to be rated as one of the best mares in Australia now.
“It was a slashing run. I thought at the 200m mark that we had the race in our keeping, but Solzhenitsyn was just a bit too good.
“She (Spirit Song) has been a great horse for her owners. She just gives 100 per cent all the time. She’s got a great heart. She’s a real fighter.”
The 35-year-old trainer said jockey Craig Williams was full of admiration for the mare.
“Craig said it was a gutsy effort. He said she kept on fighting even after she was headed over the concluding stages,” Purcell said.
Spirit Song picked up $72,000 in stake money and black type as a group 1 placegetter, which will enhance her value as a broodmare.
Purcell said she was now a very valuable mare.
“The black type means a lot for any breeder. She’s worth a lot of money now,” he said.
“She’s come a long way for us from winning a restricted race at Ballarat to being a second placegetter in the Toorak Handicap.”
Purcell is keeping his options open for future runs.
“There’s a $150,000 race for mares over 1600m at Moonee Valley on October 27,” he said.
“We’ll look at taking her to that race before running her in the $500,000 Myer Classic at Flemington on November 3.
“They’re both excellent races for her to run in at this stage of her preparation, but we have not finalised them yet.”
Purcell’s celebrations continued yesterday, when his seven-year-old gelding Streaky Fella finished third in the Cranbourne Cup (2025m).