The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Annabel Neasham‘s class filly Learning To Fly will head into this year’s Golden Slipper undefeated following her tough victory in the 2023 Reisling Stakes results on Saturday.
The brilliant young daughter of Justify has been outstanding in her opening campaign winning the Group 3 Widden Stakes on debut, scoring in the lucrative $2 million Inglis Millennium and then making it three-from-three with her narrow success in the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
There may have been just four fillies in this year’s Reisling Stakes, but the diminutive field took nothing away from the winner who had to do it from both ends fighting off the brave Facile the whole way down the straight.
The Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou-trained Trapeze Artist filly Facile had run fifth in the Inglis Nursery before a lead-up second in the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes heading into her rematch with Learning To Fly.
She dug up out of the gates with the speed to lead from the favourite as they went around quick early.
Jockey Chad Schofield probed through up the inside on Learning To Fly to get her to a narrow lead approaching the turn for home as her and Facile went head to head around the corner.
It was a great tussle up the straight, but the favourite lifted at the 50m and won the Reisling in an epic battle by a half-head to Facile who was so brave the entire trip.
“Relief. I was a bit nervous watching that first 100m I thought Facile was going to cross, the worst place we wanted to be was locked away. Just had to keep nudging up and I think they’ve run pretty quick time the first half,” winning trainer Neasham told the media after the race.
“Chad (Schofield) just said she was very relaxed in front, I don’t think it’s necessarily her preferred place. We saw a little bit in the Widden when she hit the front she was a bit green, but she’s added another string to her bow being able to (lead).
“Facile is a really good filly. I know she hasn’t won, but she was very good last week. She’s rock hard fit so when she was coming to us I thought we’d have to be brave to keep our nose in front and she did just that.”
Cigar Flick rounded out the Reisling Stakes trifecta a gap back in third.
Facile showed great heart and was there the whole way, but was eventually beaten by a very classy and tenacious filly.
“She was incredibly brave again today. She is going to make a really nice filly in a little bit of time but she is doing a great job at the moment,” jockey Tim Clark said of the Reisling runner-up.
Learning To Fly proved she could win under pressure and is now looking very hard to beat in the Group 1 $5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 18.
“She’s very tactical, she’s very versatile, she’s very professional. So exciting having a filly like this going into a (Golden) Slipper,” Neasham said.
She was the $4 favourite before the race but has since been knocked back to second seed by the firming James Cummings-trained Cylinder ($4.50 into $3.80) who won the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) one race earlier.
Estijaab (2018) was the last filly to complete the Reisling Stakes – Golden Slipper double.
Click here for the latest pre-field 2023 Golden Slipper betting markets.
2023 Reisling Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||LEARNING TO FLY||Annabel Neasham||Chad Schofield||1||55.5kg||$1.65F|
|2||3||FACILE||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Tim Clark||0.06L||3||55.5kg||$4.20|
|3||4||CIGAR FLICK||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||4.46L||4||55.5kg (cd 56kg)||$12|
|4||6||MATHKHOORA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Sam Clipperton||15.95L||2||55.5kg||$5|
|2||KUNDALINI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||James McDonald||0|
|5||KIMMELA||Edward O’Rourke||Ms Rachel King||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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