Learning To Fly ‘Justifys’ The Hype

by TDNAus/NZ

The Annabel Neasham-trained Learning To Fly (Aus) (Justify) turned heads when she broke her maiden in the G3 Widden S. last month and she more than justified that hype when overcoming a wide barrier to win the Inglis Millennium (Listed Restricted) at Sydney’s Randwick Race Course on Saturday.

After breaking cleanly from gate 15, the filly was settled on the outside by Chad Schofield, who was happy to sit on the wide outside. As the field rounded the turn, Learning To Fly showed she was aptly named, storming down the outside to swoop the A$2-million honours and come away with a 0.27l win over Blanc De Blanc (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}). Kundalini (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) ran another solid race to finish third (video).

Kia Ora paid A$900,000 for the filly at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale last year when she was offered by Coolmore, who retained a share in the youngster.

“To the staff’s credit back at the farm, they earmarked this filly from day one as the best of all of them and from what we’ve seen so far, she looks extremely special and possibly the filly of her time,” Coolmore’s Tom Magnier said.

“What Annabel has done with her is nothing short of extraordinary. She’s weaved her magic and turned this filly into the star she is today. “She’s in the [G1 Longines Golden] Slipper [A$4.92 million, Rosehill, Mar. 18] now, with some of this Inglis prize money counting toward qualification so we’ll set out a path now toward there and hopefully become the first Millennium winner to win the Slipper.”

Kia Ora’s Shane Wright said he always thought the filly had star quality.

“We knew she was an exceptional filly so while you never expect to see that, it’s always a delight to sit back and watch a win like that with a very, very special filly,” Wright said. “When we drew barrier 19 I think everybody was a bit flat, but once we looked at things and decided to run, we knew we’d need a great ride by Chad [Schofield] and while he was obviously wide, he always had cover and just let the filly come into the race.

“At the top of the straight, she was still a way off them but I always thought deep down she was good enough to round them up and it’s amazing to see her do it.”

In winning the Millennium, Learning To Fly earned her connections a new Ferrari, as part of a Coolmore promotion at last year’s yearling sales for the first progeny of Justify to one of 16 races they earmarked, and the A$2 million-event was one of them.

“The keys are in my pocket at the moment but we’ll work out the next few days who gets the car,” Wright said.

Learning To Fly is out of Group 3 winner Ennis Hill (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who is herself a daughter of Hips Don’t Lie (NZ) (Stravinsky), the dam of Listed scorer Lake Geneva (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) and Acrobat (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who won the 2020 Inglis Nursery and now stands at Coolmore Stud.

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