Learning To Fly became the first Australian stakes-winner for Coolmore’s Triple Crown winner Justify (USA) and put herself in the Golden Slipper picture with a courageous performance on debut in Saturday’s Group III Widden Stakes (1100m).

Ridden by Chad Schofield for Annabel Neasham, Learning to Fly races outside the leader Perfect Proposal. When Schofield asked for an effort, he found an instant response.

After dropping Perfect Proposal, Learning to Fly was attacked by the well-supported Steel City and Cigar Flick. She had to dig deep but was going better than anything on the line to defeat Steel City (Merchant Navy) by a half-length with a further two and a quarter lengths back to Mumbai Muse (Zoustar), who edged Cigar Flick (Churchill) for third.

Annabel Neasham said the Justify filly had met her expectations.

“I am excited and relieved at the same time. She was brilliant,” Neasham said.

“She floated in front, and I thought the other horse was going to get her, but she dug deep first up. To do that, she showed a lot more early speed than I expected. Chad did a great job of getting her in that spot. She is very exciting.”

“We’ve always had a really good opinion of her, but you never know quite how good they are until you see them come and do it in the afternoon. We think she is quite special. To do it in the Coolmore colours is very exciting, and Kia Ora as well an important ownership group. Grateful for their support with such a valuable filly.

“She is an Inglis horse, so we could go to the Millennium in a fortnight. Obviously, the Golden Slipper is the real aim, but that will be her Grand Final. We’ll get her home, see how she is and talk to the team.”

A $900,000 purchase for Kia Ora Stud from the Coolmore Stud draft at the 2022 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Learning to Fly is the second foal of Fastnet Rock’s Group III MRC Chairman’s Stakes winner Ennis Hill. Coolmore retained an interest, and Learning To Fly sports Coolmore’s all-navy silks.

Named by James Bester after British athlete Jessica Ennis Hill, winner of the gold medal in Heptathlon at the London Olympic Games, Ennis Hill is a sister to Lake Geneva, Acrobat, and the stakes-placed Memphis Rock.

Lake Geneva won the Listed MVRC William Crockett Stakes and placed in the Golden Slipper and Blue Diamond.

Acrobat won the Inglis Nursery (RL) at his only start before retiring to Coolmore, where he covered 188 mares in his first season last spring.

Ennis Hill has a Pierro filly in the Coolmore Stud draft at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. (lot 117).

After foaling an I Am Invincible filly in October, Ennis Hill was covered by Snitzel.

Justify (USA) shuttled to Australia for three seasons. The son of Scat Daddy has 12 catalogued for Easter, nine at the Inglis Classic, and 11 at the Inglis Premier.

Story courtesy of Breednet.