Learning To Fly (Justify) finished second in the Gr.2 Light Fingers Stakes at Randwick

Exciting Return for Learning to Fly

The Annabel Neasham trained Learning to Fly (3f Justify x Ennis Hill, by Fastnet Rock) was the dominant two year-old filly last season, but has been off the scene since losing her rider in the Golden Slipper, however a strong finishing second in the Group II ATC Light Fingers Stakes at Randwick on Saturday showed she has come back as good as ever.

Given a thorough preparation for her return to racing, Learning to Fly had three barrier trials under her belt, but an outside gate made her task a tricky one with Chad Schofield electing to go back and cross to the fence.

She let down with a big finish when angled into the clear and missed by a head in a tight finish to quality filly Kimochi.

"We had a good run in the race and I felt like she was the winner when she quickened," Schofield said.

"But obviously, after a year off, she needed that run but to get beaten by a small margin like that, it was a great sign going forward."

Co-owner Tom Magnier said Learning To Fly's comeback effort was outstanding: "I was delighted with that run," he said.

"For a filly that hasn't run for a year that was exciting. She will run a great race in the G1 Surround (Stakes) now."

Learning to Fly was a $900,000 Inglis Easter purchase for Kia Ora Stud from the Coolmore draft and runs for a partnership involving both Kia Ora and Coolmore.

Learning to Fly was foaled and raised at Coolmore and is the second foal and first winner from Fastnet Rock’s Group III winning daughter Ennis Hill, who was 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, who won the Listed MVRC William Crockett Stakes and placed in the Golden Slipper and Blue Diamond as well as Acrobat, who won the Inglis Nursery (RL) at his only start. Acrobat now stands at Coolmore with his first foals born last spring.

Coolmore sold a Pierro filly from Ennis Hill at Inglis Easter last year for $1.75million to Mick Wallace / Gandharvi and she has been named Pretty with Annabel Neasham to train. Now back in foal to Learning to Fly’s sire Justify, Ennis Hill has a yearling filly by I Am Invincible and had a filly foal last year by Snitzel.

Coolmore will offer another filly from this famous family at Inglis Easter this year presenting Lot 68, a Snitzel filly from Group II winner Hips Don’t Lie, the dam of Ennis Hill.