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Najem Suhail (nearest camera), gets up to win (Picture:

Six year-old Starspangledbanner gelding Najem Suhail 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, reports BREEDNET.

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,. We are still celebrating,” said Mathew de Kock.

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

Mike de Kock commented: “This was a super exciting win for me, a Listed race in my silks in Australia and we are so proud of Mat. I’ve always rated Najem Suhail, I had the G1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in mind for him but things went wrong and eventually we syndicated him and sent him to Australia. Well done to my partners Mohammed Mardood and the Blue Stables Syndicate for their trust, a nice success for them too!”

Connections of Najem Suhail celebrate after winning the G.H. Mumm Century Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on November 09, 2023 in Flemington, Australia. (Photo by Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

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 bred by Gilgai Farm and is the first winner for Group III winning Invincible Spirit (IRE) 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.

Sophie’s Spirit has a yearling colt by Star Turn and has foaled this spring producing a colt by Ole Kirk.