American superstar Justify scored his first stakes win in Australia as a sire on Saturday, with Learning To Fly triumphing at Rosehill. (Picture: Coolmore)Learning To Fly’s Widden Stakes victory at Rosehill on Saturday was just the start of what is going to be a spectacular stud career for Justify, according to James Bester – bloodstock consultant to Coolmore.
Justify is Coolmore’s most high-profile shuttle stallion to Australia in a generation, and Saturday’s win for Learning To Fly was the American superstar’s first stakes triumph in the southern hemisphere.
Bester, also a part-breeder of Learning To Fly, praised Coolmore for the unwavering faith it has shown in Justify.
“Coolmore has shown levels of belief in this stallion that I haven’t seen in my 30-something-year connection with them,” he told HorseBetting.com.au.
“The fact that they have bought the best mares in both the northern and southern hemisphere, I haven’t seen that level of support before.”
Already, Justify is proving to be a sensation at stud, just like the Triple Crown winner was on the track in the US.
“There’s great belief in him. And he’s just come through a season in the northern hemisphere where his first two-year-olds there made him the leading sire of stakes winning two-year-olds,” Bester said.
“That was ahead of a horse like Into Mischief. For a decade, Into Mischief has been the dominant two-year-old sire in America.”
READ: Patient approach paying off for ‘extraordinary’ Learning To Fly
While Bester and trainer Annabel Neasham were delighted at the natural talent Learning To Fly showed on Saturday, the top bloodstock consultant has also been thrilled with Justify’s performances in retirement.
“For him as a first-season sire to come out and challenge him (Into Mischief) was an indication to us that he’s a very promising sire,” Bester said.
“And that doesn’t always translate to the Australian scene.
“As opposed to American Pharoah, Justify’s sire Scat Daddy and that sire line is very much suited to turf, speed and Australian racing.”
Neasham said after Learning To Fly’s half-length win that she could possibly go to the Inglis Millennium on February 11, on her way to the Golden Slipper.
2023 G3 Widden Stakes (1100m) – Learning To Fly (1st)
And if she wins her likely next assignment over 1100m worth $2 million, Bester said interest in Justify progeny at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale would only go up.
“She may go through the Inglis Millennium because she qualifies for that coming from the Inglis Easter sales,” Bester said.
“I’m sure Annabel will work out the best program for her, but I think she’s (favourite) for the Golden Slipper right now.
“Winning one of those Slipper lead-ups will give Justify a fabulous push forward prior to the Easter sales.”
Bester said there was no doubt among the top trainers who currently have a Justify filly or colt under their watch that he is the real deal as a sire.
“I think already all the trainers who have them are adamant that they can run,” he said.
“We’ve heard Trent Busuttin has a good one and Ciaron Maher has a good one.”
Bester also liked the look of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s filly Just Glamourous, who finished seventh in the Widden Stakes but hit the line hard.
She is by Justify and out of Global Glamour.
“I thought Gai’s Just Glamorous showed a lot of promise. She actually ran the fastest last 200m of that race on Saturday, and very nearly the fastest last 400m,” he said.
“She just wants to get up to 1400 and 1600m, and I think she’ll be a top-class filly.
“So the Justify factor is very exciting on all levels, and I can’t conceive of him not succeeding big time.”
Bester has put his money where his mouth is – he purchased two Justify fillies for himself at this month’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
“As a result, I bought two myself bought two at the Magic Millions believing they’d only become more expensive, because I’m fully aware how Annabel feels about Learning To Fly,” he said.
“Now that she’s come out and done it, I think trainers and buyers will be much more ready to buy Justifieds at sales that are coming up.”
Bester said Learning To Fly comes from a family of champions, which was why he wasn’t surprised with her incredible debut performance on the weekend.
“There are so many aspects to this filly,” he said.
“One is her dam who was a Group-winning two-year-old.
“The dam is called Ennis Hill, and her brother Acrobat won the Inglis Classic.
“The other full sister Lake Geneva placed in the Golden Slipper and the Blue Diamond.
“And the granddam Hips Don’t Lie was a fantastic two-year-old.”
Connections of Learning To Fly were delighted with her trial victory over 792m at Warwick Farm on January 16, with Perfect Proposal the runner-up for Peter and Paul Snowden.
Perfect Proposal finished second in last year’s Gimcrack Stakes and eighth in the Widden Stakes.
“There’s just so much speed, class and precocity in the family that it’s no surprise Learning To Fly came out from her early trials and showed this in her first race,” Bester said.
More horse racing news
View the full article
This Saturday we had feature racedays at all five of the main tracks across the country with Group racing at Moonee Valley and Rosehill Gardens, and Listed races at Morphettville, Sunshine Coast and Ascot. Over the next few weeks we will see a lot of the good horses return as the races begin to heat up in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
Today we will be talking about three horses that have bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks, after impressive runs on Saturday at Morphettville and Sunshine Coast.
Morphettville – Durbridge Stakes Day
Track rating: Good 4 Rail position: True entire circuit
Race 8: Listed Durbridge Stakes (1100m) | Time: 1:04.18
Horse to follow: See You In Heaven (2nd)
Richard & Chantelle Jolly had their star three-year-old filly See You In Heaven return to the races in the Listed Durbridge Stakes at Morphettville over 1100m on Saturday, where she finished second behind Shamino. In her return run, this daughter of Divine Prophet was backed into favouritism at $3 with online bookmakers and as the field rounded the home turn, favourite backers would have been very confident when she peeled off the leaders heels and took a comfortable lead. However, Shamino came down the outside with one big burst of acceleration to out sprint the filly.
When to bet: The Jolly stable have confirmed that See You In Heaven is on an Australian Guineas path and considering the Guineas is just over a month away at Flemington, we should see her run again over 1300m or 1400m. This filly is currently $15 in the Australian Guineas futures market and sits behind some very good horses, so she may not be a bet in the Guineas if some of the stars go there, but next start over 1400m will be perfect.
Sunshine Coast – Sunshine Coast Cup Day
Track rating: Good 4 Rail position: True entire circuit
Race 6: Open Handicap (1000m) | Time: 0:57.12
Horse to follow: Simply Fly (1st)
The odds-on race favourite, The Bopper, being scratched before the Open Handicap over 1000m may have overshadowed the win of Simply Fly. However, this five-year-old gelding was very impressive. This son of Spirit Of Boom had been racing in Listed and Quality grade races, including the $750,000 King Of The Mountain at his past three starts, albeit running sixth, 11th and eighth in those runs. Dropping back to Open Handicap grade at the Sunshine Coast track, where his record is four wins from five starts, he relished the solid tempo set by the leaders and he ran home with that booming finish that he possesses to win by a long neck on the line.
When to bet: Rex Lipp & Nicholas Hahn may have found the right level of racing for this gelding, so we don’t expect to see him racing in Listed company in the near future. If they stick to Open Handicaps between 1000m and 1200m, there is no doubt that Simply Fly is worth following when he goes to a big track with a longer straight like Eagle Farm or the Sunshine Coast.
Race 8: Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) | Time: 1:23.01
Horse to follow: Chaillot (1st)
Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted couldn’t have dreamed for a better start for Chaillot after the six-year-old mare was transferred from the Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr yard to one of the top training partnership yards in Queensland. Chaillot returned from a 10-week spell on Saturday in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup where she started as the $4.20 favourite with online betting sites as the class horse in the field and she won like so. The daughter of Testa Rossa further bettered her first-up record by winning another fresh start, taking her record to five wins from seven starts. This mare was back at her brilliant best, giving the leaders a start and a beating over her best distance of 1400m.
When to bet: Matthew Hoysted spoke post-race on Saturday and said that they are well aware that this mare likes her runs spaced, so she is likely to go out for a spell now. However, with the Brisbane Winter Carnival only three or four months away, Hoysted said the Tattersall’s Tiara on June 24 at Eagle Farm over 1400m could be the event they target in the carnival with this very talented mare.
Latest horse racing tips
View the full article
Yes, these people win in the end because they are in a position to wear the likes of Reefton down. Come on Reefton, do another round or two. I feel there must be common sense close by. The Coasters are a rare breed and are not quitters.