Najem Suhail (Starspangledbanner) wins the Listed Mumm Stakes at Flemington

New Starspangled Stakes-Winning Sprinter Wins

Najem Suhail (6g Starspangledbanner x Sophie's Spirit, by Invincible Spirit) has had an interesting life, born and bred in Victoria before starting his racing life in South Africa where he won on debut as a juvenile in 2020 and then subsequently found his way back to Australia into the care of Robbie Griffiths and Matthew de Kock.

A close third in the Group III VRC Rising Fast Stakes over 1200m at Flemington on Saturday to Spacewalk, the speedy bay was able to turn the tables over the shorter 1000m trip of the Listed VRC GH Mumm Century Stakes.

Ridden patiently this time by Damian Lane, Najeem Suhail hit the line hard with a well timed sprint to score a head win over Spacewalk taking his overall record to six wins and four placings from 15 starts with prizemoney topping $400,000.

“It’s an awesome thrill to have a winner in Cup week and even more special to have my dad in the ownership as he was the one that had a lot of faith in this horse from day one and made sure he came over here and made it possible,” said Matthew de Kock.

“Coming back to the 1000m, he was always going to be strong through the line today and Damian rode him absolutely perfect.”

A $100,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Gilgai Farm branch for Form Bloodstock, Najem Suhail was sent to South Africa and had two starts there when trained by Mike de Kock for a debut win at Vaal and a second in the Group II South African Nursery Stakes at Turffontein.

He was by Gilgai Farm and is the first winner for Group III winning Invincible Spirit winner Sophie’s Spirit, who was on-sold by Gilgai Farm at the 2019 Inglis Great Southern Sale where she was picked up for just $45,000 by Jilly Henderson’s Noogee Park Thoroughbreds.

Najem Suhail is the 37th stakes-winner for Starspangledbanner, who is busy in Australia this spring at a fee of $33,000.