The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Learning To Fly has cemented her spot as the best two-year-old filly of the season to date with the Annabel Neasham-trained youngster claiming victory in a dramatic edition of the $2 million Inglis Millennium in Sydney.
The daughter of Justify backed-up from her successful debut at Rosehill in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) to remain undefeated with another narrow success for the punters in the Restricted Listed Inglis Millennium over the same distance at Royal Randwick.
Jockey Chad Schofield continued associations with the $4 Inglis Millennium favourite who overcame barrier 15 to beat home the Michael Freedman-trained Blanc De Blanc ($7) with Kundalini ($5) from the Maher/Eustace stable running third.
It was a race of mixed emotion and results for Neasham however with her other runner, Capitalist filly Dorothy Gail, throwing jockey Tom Marquand from the saddle after getting knocked over before running off without her hoop.
“She is very special,” Neasham told Sky Thoroughbred Central speaking of the winning filly.
“I’ll have to watch it again, my eyes were split. But she had a lot of work to do from the draw and probably the way the track was playing today, that horses were making up ground, it made me a little bit more confident.”
Schofield timed his run to perfection in the lucrative autumn event with Learning To Fly descending on her rivals over the final 50m to get over the top of them right down the outside.
He had to restrain the eventual winner early after Learning To Fly showed her customary gate speed getting her to settle back off the speed before making up ground late out wide.
The hoop had been oozing with confidence and was very calm pre-race according to Neasham, and the filly rewarded both jockey and trainer with a truly terrific performance.
“It’s a shame when they draw wide and we made that call we’d ride her a little bit quieter but she’s got so much gate speed Chad had to restrain her back,” Neasham explained.
“But he was oozing confidence, Chad, before the race. He was very calm.
“He’s done a lot of work with the filly and I’m just so grateful to be training a filly for Coolmore and their partners and Kia Ora.
“They’re such great people and to entrust me with this filly that is so well bred is amazing and it’s good to get the job done.
“I have to pinch myself a little bit. I’m almost speechless to win a big race like that in those colours, it’s very special.”
It is now all systems go towards the Group 1 $5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 18th with Learning To Fly likely to have one more run to keep her fit between now and the Grand Final.
“We’ll see how she pulls up but I imagine she’ll have one more in something like the Sweet Embrace or maybe more likely the Reisling and then into the Slipper,” Neasham confirmed.
The Group 2 $250,000 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) takes place at Randwick on February 25, while the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m) runs a week later on March 4.
“She’s a filly I just loved from the first day I sat on her, I knew she was a top-class horse,” Schofield said after the victory.
“I thought at the top of the straight I was going to hit the line and run into third or fourth because I had so much work to do. But she just kept picking up, picking up. She’s got a dynamic turn of foot as we saw today.
“She’s just a beautiful horse you can do anything with. Today she just dropped her head and relaxed wherever I wanted her to be. She’s just got a beautiful turn of foot and the world’s her oyster.”
2023 Inglis Millennium Results & Finishing Order
|1||8||LEARNING TO FLY||Annabel Neasham||Chad Schofield||15||54.5kg||$4F|
|2||11||BLANC DE BLANC||Michael Freedman||James McDonald||0.27L||12||54.5kg (cd 55kg)||$7|
|3||14||KUNDALINI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jason Collett||1L||4||54.5kg||$5|
|4||10||LAZZAGO||Chris Waller||William Pike||1.35L||7||54.5kg||$6.50|
|5||9||FACILE||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Brenton Avdulla||1.61L||1||54.5kg||$7.50|
|6||4||HELLISH||Danny O’Brien||Joshua Parr||1.66L||8||56.5kg||$41|
|7||17e||GANBARE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Nash Rawiller||2.08L||16||56.5kg||$61|
|8||2||MEXICO||Michael Freedman||Brett Prebble||2.33L||9||56.5kg||$21|
|9||7||SALTAIRE||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||2.65L||13||54.5kg||$15|
|10||16||IMMINANCE||Aaron Laing||Sam Clipperton||2.81L||6||54.5kg||$101|
|11||1||ARKANSAW KID||Ben & JD Hayes||Ms Rachel King||5.3L||14||56.5kg||$21|
|12||6||THE PLAYER||Chris Munce||Brock Ryan||6.16L||11||56.5kg||$91|
|13||5||CELUI||Brent Stanley||Jett Stanley (a)||6.4L||3||56.5kg||$51|
|14||13||PERFECT PROPOSAL||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Regan Bayliss||8.19L||2||54.5kg||$31|
|15||3||COINCIDE||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||25.55L||10||56.5kg||$51|
|LR||15||DOROTHY GAIL||Annabel Neasham||Tom Marquand||5||54.5kg||$26|
|20e||CHOP THE ICE||Gratz Vella||0|
|12||DIVINE GLORY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Tyler Schiller (a)||0|
|18e||CHASING A QUID||Gratz Vella||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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