Flying The Flag’s younger full sister, Magical, followed in her older Gr1 winning full sisters footsteps by winning the Gr2 Debutante in Ireland. Rhododendron won the race in 2016 and was crowned Irish Champion 2YO Filly after an exceptional Gr1 winning season.
Aidan O’Brien won the Group 2 Debutante Stakes for the 12th time. Despite September and Happily dominating the betting, it was their stablemate Magical, ridden by Donnacha O’Brien, who ran out the winner of the contest.
Magical, a winner of a Cork maiden on her previous start, was sent off in front by O’Brien on the rain-softened ground, with Gr3 winner Happily, the choice of Ryan Moore, sitting just off her.
Chesham winner September, who was the subject of late money and was sent off 11-10 favourite, was struggling from two furlongs out, where Happily, the 6-4 second favourite, was also coming under pressure.
Magical, meanwhile, was travelling much more sweetly as O’Brien sent her away from her rivals to win by one and a quarter lengths from Happily, with Mary Tudor, who had run Magical to a head when making her debut at Cork, the same distance back in third. September was three-quarters of a length away in fourth.
The winner is a sister to Fillies’ Mile winner and 1,000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Rhododendron, who won the Debutante a year ago.
O’Brien suggested a rematch could be on the cards for the three fillies, with next month’s Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on the radar.
He said: “That went very well for Magical. She was green and made quite hard work of it to win her maiden at Cork, but she travelled very well in front today.
“Donnacha didn’t go mad on her and she’s won well. She’s out of a Pivotal mare and that probably helped her on the ground. She got the trip well and went to the line well – she should stay further.
Magical is now second favourite at 10-1 (from 25) for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas and market leader for the Investec Oaks.
Galileo full brother Flying The Flag, standing at Bush Hill Stud, has his first foals arriving this season. Warwick Render reports that “we have had great reports on his first foals from all around the country.”
A three time winner over 1400m and up, Flying The Flag was a Gr3 winner at three, Gr1 placed in Dubai, Gr2 runner-up at 2, and competed in French 2000 Guineas, Irish 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby. He is Timeform Rated at 115.
His dam Halfway To Heaven won three Gr1’s including the Gr1 Irish One Thousand Guineas, Gr1 Nassau Stakes, and Gr1 Sun Chariot Stakes.
The immediate family has not only produced Gr1 winning and Cartier Juvenile Filly Rhodododendron, has also produced American dual Gr1 winner by Galileo and a $3 million dollar Keeneland broodmare prospect, Photo Call. Photo Call shares a second dam – the speedy Cassandra Go – with Flying The Flag.
Flying The Flag stands for a fee of R20 000 this season.