Flannery preps Perth Flyers

Avoca Park studmaster Michael Flannery is putting the finishing touches to a terrific draft of yearlings for the Perth Magic Millions starting on January 27.

Flannery is one of the best in the business prepping horses for the Perth yearling sale since arriving from Ireland in the 1980s.  And there’s been plenty of pedigree updates in recent weeks to help boost the value of this year’s recruits.

The Avoca Park draft includes lots by up-and-coming sires Snitzel, Charge Forward and Elvstroem as well as established stallions like Testa Rossa and Beautiful Crown.  There are also two fillies and a colt from the first crop of local sire Flying Pegasus.

The Testa Rossa – Strega filly (Lot 273) comes from a family that’s been improving week by week.  Her older brother Testa Jesta won again at Morphettville on January 2 boosting his bank to $116,000.  Then on January 9, her three year-old sister Testa’s Big Lassie flew home to nail an Ipswich maiden third time out.

All three of Strega’s foals by Testa Rossa have now won races.  Aurelio, who is a stablemate of Testa’s Big Lassie, broke his maiden at Doomben in 2008.

The Testa Rossa filly is one of the picks of the draft as is the Flying Pegasus colt from the British bred mare Melee (Lot 138).  “He’s got it all,” Flannery said this week.  “A strong forearm, short cannons and a powerful back-end.  He should get up and sprint early on.”

Flannery sold a Fastnet Rock – Melee colt for $145,000 at the 2009 Perth Magic Millions and he has been named Rock ‘N’ Rumble.  Mark Pilkington bought him on behalf of a syndicate that includes David Hayes, Keith Biggs, Rod Russell and Coolmore’s Michael Kirwan and Colm Santry.  He’s just been turned out at Lindsay Park after undergoing education and orientation at Euroa and Flemington.

Melee (Cadeaux Genereux) won over a mile in North America and she is a half-sister to three stakes winners including Light Jig (Danehill), a G1 winner of the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Singspiel – Finishing School colt is another Avoca Park entrant with family updates.  His three-quarter brother Never Ending Tale won his penultimate start at Doncaster in England before going for a winter spell.

Finishing School (Grand Lodge) was trained by Andre Fabre for Sheikh Mohammed and was a 3yo winner in France before her sale for 100,000gns (AUD 245,000) at Tattersalls in July 2007.  She was covered by Singspiel to southern hemisphere time and the resultant foal will parade as Lot 23 at the Perth Magic Millions.

“Singspiel has a tremendous winning strike-rate and this one really looks the part,” Flannery said.  “He sells himself.”

The colt could do worse than Finishing School’s half-brother Goldtown who was also bred to southern hemisphere time by Darley.  A son of Sunday Silence, he won 7 races and earned black-type with placings in the STC Tulloch Stakes (G2) and KBRC Kalgoorlie Cup.

Breeders who patronized Snitzel and Charge Forward in 2007 will profit accordingly at the 2010 majors and Avoca Park will sell one each by Arrowfield Stud’s young guns in Perth.

Snitzel has already sired four winners from his first crop this season and his Avoca Park colt is out of multiple Melbourne winner Kelcheck.   Parading as Lot 78, he’s a big lad for a first foal and Flannery will be kept busy parading him for owners and trainers at Belmont.

Charge Forward was Australia’s Champion freshman sire last season thanks to 2009 Golden Slipper runner-up Headway.  The Makybe filly trained on to a well-deserved G1 triumph in the Ascot Vale Stakes at the Melbourne spring carnival.

Charge Forward might have trumped Headway with an even better filly in his second crop.  Named Solar Charged, she looked a world-beater when a five lengths winner on debut at Randwick in November and was immediately installed pre-post favourite for the 2010 Golden Slipper.

Solar Charged is out of a Danehill mare and Avoca Park’s filly (Lot 398) is from Busty who is a daughter of his Golden Slipper winner Danzero.

Elvstroem is another up-and-coming Eastern States stallion represented in the Avoca Park draft.  His filly from Steely Gaze (Lot 263) is a proper lady according to Flannery.  “A beautiful filly with a lovely temperament.”

Her dam Steely Gaze won five races in Perth and is a three-quarter sister to Ascot 2yo Listed winner World Of Fun (Metal Storm).  Other Mungrup Stud stallions with stakes winners in the family have been Poliuto (Surrender To Me – Raconteur St) and Eternity Range (Moccasin Bend – WA Guineas).

Local and off-shore buyers will be keen to inspect the Magic Of Sydney filly (Lot 427) at Flannery’s Barn 7 stables at the Belmont sales complex.  She is a three-quarter sister to Malaysian Horse of the Year Cheyenne Dancer who was sold by Avoca Park at the 2005 Perth Magic Millions.

Cheyenne Dancer (Indian Danehill) has returned his $37,500 purchase price many times over via victories in the Listed Malaysian Magic Millions Classic and Penang Sprint Trophy.  He has also been placed at Listed level in the Raffles Cup and Kranji Mile in Singapore.

Patinack Farm sire Beautiful Crown has two fillies selling under the Avoca Park banner.  Lot 121 (ex Lupercal) looks an early type while Lot 432 (ex Diamond Broach) has plenty of scope although her older sister Florenza did win as a 2yo in Queensland.

Hurricane Sky is another in-form stallion with two lots being prepared by Flannery.  The Durham Lodge resident has sired 23 winners this season including an interstate double last Saturday with Rainband (Caulfield) and Sky Magic (Ascot).

Lot 44 is a filly (ex Grand Era) closely related to G1 winning mare Starstruck and Lot 333 is a colt (ex Wild Flood) from a Tilden Park family that generated several stakes winners by its G1 stallion Marooned.