Spanish Whisper (middle) finishing second to Mystic Journey last spring (Image: Racing Photos)
Spanish Whisper departed New Zealand with a healthy reputation that so far hasn't been enhanced in Australia.
However, the New Zealand Group 2-winning juvenile might be ready to match those feats in Australia this Saturday at Flemington in the $200,000 Kewney Stakes (1400m) for three-year-old fillies.
Dwayne Dunn rides Spanish Whisper this weekend and the 45-year-old jockey has identified that the daughter of Lope de Vega has an improved temperament from last spring.
Dunn was aboard Spanish Whisper when she was runner-up, beaten 1.75 lengths, by Embrace Me in the G3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on February 22.
"She can race a little bit fierce from time to time but she seems to have come back a lot better this preparation," Dunn said.
"I think she should be able to put a couple of runs together (this campaign) and she's definitely good enough if she does the right thing on race day.
"It's just a question mark whether she needed one more run (at 1200 metres) to keep her toned down for that (1400-metre) trip.
"She's got class, if she sits outside the lead and switches off she'll take a lot of running down."
Spanish Whisper won the G2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) in February last year before finishing third in the G1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie the following month.
She was backed from as much as $10 into $6 for her Australian debut, finishing fifth in the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on September 8. On that occasion she raced keenly outside the lead and was overrun late.
Spanish Whisper again raced keenly when second-up in the Listed Jim Moloney Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield a fortnight later. She was caught three-wide up on the pace but kicked strongly into the straight, only beaten by Mystic Journey who stalked Spanish Whisper before driving clear.
Spanish Whisper's campaign then ended with two below-par performances, unplaced in the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) just seven days after her Jim Moloney Stakes run.
"She was really disappointing, I don't think she backed up because she raced really flat and didn't show any turn of foot," Jamie Kah said after riding Spanish Whisper in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.
Spanish Whisper was then ridden by Dunn for the first time under race conditions, finishing last in the Listed Crockett Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Cox Plate Day.