Barb Raider (inside) was gallant in defeat in last Saturday's Australasian Oaks. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Victorian bred horses Barb Raider and My Whisper were both gallant in defeat in last Saturday’s Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville, taken out by the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained Glint of Hope.
Barb Raider (Rebel Raider x Graebarb), a homebred for Graeme Gathercole and trained at Mornington by Jerome Hunter, finished second, beaten a head.
The Yulong bred and raced My Whisper (Frankel x Hersigh), which started the $2.70 favourite, was aiming for her fifth consecutive victory and finished less than half a length from the winner in third position.
After failing on a heavy 10 in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf (1600m) at her last start, the front running Barb Raider faced a challenging task after drawing barrier 12 of 16 at Morphettville.
“The barrier made a difference,” Hunter said.
“We had to do a bit of work to get across.
“It would have been nice to have just lobbed out, and even if we did sit second, we wouldn’t have to have used her up so early.’’
The outside barrier was an obstacle that Hunter said wasn’t made any easier with the first corner coming up so quickly for horses drawn poorly.
“The first corner comes up about 100m after they jump,” he said.
“You have to get across pretty quickly, but it was still a great run, and we were very excited with the way she went.”
Leading into the race, Barb Raider beat home only three of the 14 runners in the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes on the heavy 10 track at Randwick.
“In the Sydney run, she lost a shoe, and she wasn’t gassed out but just held back a bit because of how bad that track was,” Hunter said.
“She came through that Sydney run that well that I knew she was 100 per cent for last Saturday.”
Hunter said Barb Raider, who Craig Williams has ridden in all of her starts, would now head to the paddock for a spell as they aim her for some Spring races and hopefully claim a coveted Group 1.
“She is at that level now where there is not a hell of a lot of races,” Hunter said.
“Once you get to that level, all the horses seem to head for the same races.”
Hunter said while Barb Raider didn’t win, they were excited that the filly came second in a Group 1.
“While it’s disappointing, it’s still a win in a way,” he said.
“Another 30m, and she may have got her nose in front.
“This preparation she has come second in a Group 1, she has won a Group 2, won a Group 3 and was second in a Group 2.
“We are proud of her.”
Already a valuable mare, Hunter agrees that a Group 1 victory will further enhance her value and reputation at stud.
“We will be trying hard to get that Group 1,” he said.
Hunter is a private trainer for owner and breeder for Graeme Gathercole, whose family is in the meat business and has been breeding for more than 20 years.
Barb Raider, by the now-retired Rebel Raider (Reset x Picholine) is Gathercole’s best horse after claiming back-to-back Group races with the Group 2 victory Kewney Stakes (1600m) for three-year-old fillies in March
It followed her Group 3 victory in The Vanity (1400m) in March. She showed glimpses of her above ability in her last campaign with a third in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) and a 2.2 lengths fifth in the Wakeful Stakes (2000m).
Bar Raider is out of the modestly performed mare Graebarb which is by Host, and out of the unraced mare Ardent Command.
Trained by Hunter, Graebarb had six starts for Gathercole and was placed as a two-year-old at Seymour and won a benchmark 55 at Corowa before two consecutive lasts forced her into retirement and a career in the breeding barn.
She slipped to Danerich in her first season and then produced Barb Raider.
Interestingly her next foal, the now unraced two-year-old Graewazi, is by a former stallion Our Wazi (Choisir x Nkwazi), which Gathercole bred but never raced because of injury.
Barb Raider is compiling an impressive record and has banked $628,175 from her record of 11: 4-3-2.
Yulong’s My Whisper is one of those horses that could have been racing in someone else’s colours and in a different stable than that of Paul and Peter Snowden at Flemington.
The three-year-old filly was one of five lots by Frankel withdrawn by Yulong from the Easter Yearling Sale in 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit.
And when round two of the sale came around, Yulong offered four Frankels, but three were passed in, including My Whisper, when she failed to make her $300,000 reserve.
Yulong took her home as a racing prospect and future broodmare. After finishing seventh on debut over 1125m at Geelong,
she returned from a 23-week spell with a first-up victory at Kilmore (1200m) and then won her next three, including the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville, before tackling the Australasian Oaks.
My Whisper is out Hersigh (Poet’s Voice x Zayn Zen). Hersigh was covered by Frankel in England and the mare was transported to Australia to have her first foal.
After producing My Whisper, Hersigh has a two-year-old filly by Snitzel and a yearling filly by Yulong stallion Grunt. She missed to Grunt in 2020 and was served by another Yulong stallion Lucky Vega (IRE), last spring.
Yulong owner Yuesheng Zhang is a big Frankel fan and has plenty of success with the stallion’s Chris Waller-trained mare, Hungry Heart, which was also the result of an overseas covering with the mare Harlech (Pivotal x Zoowraa) which was also brought to Australia to foal down.
The now four-year-old Hungry Heart has won two Group 1s – Australian Oaks and Vinery Stud Stakes and two Group 2s – Sweet Embrace Stakes and Phar Lap Stakes.
She was named the Australian Champion three-year-old of the year, and she was bought back by Zhang for $300,000 at the 2019 Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
So far, she has won $1.75m in prize money.
Harlech has also produced a three-year-old colt Duty Dynasty (Snitzel) and a two-year-old filly Beautiful Heart (Snitzel).
The mare was covered by Yulong’s new stallion Written Tycoon last season.