By Bren O'Brien
Espaaniyah's (I Am Invincible) emergence as one of the most exciting early-season 2-year-olds is being celebrated by her breeders at Tyreel Stud, with Tyreel's Linda Monds paying credit to her staff following the filly's victory in the Listed Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Owned by Emirates Park and prepared by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Espaaniyah put on a thoroughly professional performance on debut, jumping to the front before winning by two lengths.
Tyreel bred, foaled and raised Espaaniyah before she was sold at this year's Inglis Easter Sales for $750,000.
For Monds, the debut win is a great reward for those on the farm who had put so much into the development of the filly.
"I'm really proud of my staff... we live and breathe, eat and sleep this business but right alongside us, our staff are with us." - Linda Monds
"I'm really proud of my staff. It's good for us, we've got the broodmare and we own the farm, we live and breathe, eat and sleep this business but right alongside us, our staff are with us," she said.
"They just invest their lives into the horses that they are handling."
"We are a small farm, so we are not departmentalised. We are all part of every single foal that is produced from conception to the sales ring. We all know the horses so well. For them to have this as well, I'm so proud of the way they manage every horse."
Monds singled out the work that Darren McKay does as Yearling Manager and Robert Sims as Stud Manager.
"I'm just really proud for them they’ve got a win," she said. "It’s really good for our farm and our staff to have that, because she is a credit to them."
Making an early impression
Monds said Espaaniyah always looked like a filly who would make a strong impression, even at a very young age.
"Every horse you breed, you hope will come out and do something special. But she was always the one that we had an extremely high opinion of with her breeding and the way she was in her persona," she said.
"She had that physical presence and she was always a very smart and strong filly. She was always eager to please and learn."
"She [Espaaniyah] was a favourite of the staff's from the very beginning, Some horses just really stand out, with their attitude and everything" - Linda Monds.
She was a favourite of the staff's from the very beginning, some horses just really stand out, with their attitude and everything .
While Tyreel was a big part of her development over her first 18 months in getting her to the sales ring, Monds said her early success was also a tribute to her owners and to her trainers.
"Everything has fallen into place for her. To be purchased by Emirates for me, I was over the moon they ended up with her," she said.
"They have invested so much in the industry and they are highly regarded and highly respected. Brian Carlson is a very good judge. The fact that she ended up with them was just a great situation."
"Then when they told me she was going to be placed in the Gai and Adrian stables, I thought well, if anyone can make this work, it will be them."
While it was only Espaaniyah's first start, Monds has every faith she will continue to improve.
"I think they are going to have a lot of fun with her. She's a very professional filly and you can see that in the way she was in the pre-parade ring. I just can't wait to see what happens with her," she said.
Positive news for Catalonia
In further good news for Tyreel, the filly's dam Catalonia (Flying Spur) has had a 15-day positive test to I Am Invincible, for what will hopefully be a full sibling.
Monds bought the mare at the 2015 National Broodmare Sale in foal to More Than Ready (USA) for $360,000. The resultant filly was sold for $625,000 as a yearling and named Fashion Icon. She has had one start in Western Australia for a placing.
Catalonia's yearling colt by Pride of Dubai will also go through the ring at the Magic Millions in January and given the dam's progeny have averaged just under $700,000, hopes are high.
"The mare herself is an outstanding-looking mare. I am one when we are purchasing our broodmares, they have to have that physical aspect about them. She certainly was a mare that stood out when I purchased her," she said.