There's A Storm Coming

Storm Boy (Justify/Pelican colt) pictured as a yearling.

The first of the three juvenile heats at Warwick Farm (Sydney) on Wednesday was taken out in emphatic style by exciting colt Storm Boy, a son of US Triple Crown hero Justify (USA), who was purchased by his trainers in conjunction with Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds for $460,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January.

Storm Boy, who created a huge impression when winning his first barrier trial by 3.3l ar Rosehill Gardens last month, was given a solid hit-out by Regan Bayliss to beat Godolphin’s regally bred colt Skogafoss (Lonhro) in Heat 10, who is out of a half-sister to Champion 2-Year-Old and 3-Year-Old Miss Finland (Redoute’s Choice), by 5.76l, while Yulong’s $700,000 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale purchase Growing Empire (Zoustar), was a length further adrift in third.

The first foal out of the city-winning Fastnet Rock mare Pelican (NZ), Storm Boy is a grandson of NZ Horse of the Year and Champion Sprinter Seachange (NZ) (Cape Cross {Ire}), whose seven Group 1 wins included four as a 5-year-old mare. As such, it’s a bit of a surprise that Storm Boy is showing such precocity according to Slade, who fell in love with the son of Justify as soon as he first laid eyes on him.

“He is a horse that, even as a yearling, you thought he could be anything one day,” Slade told The Thoroughbred Report. “He just had the frame, structure, depth and action, and as we have learned now he has the attitude and action under saddle too, which is great.

“He (Storm Boy) is a horse that, even as a yearling, you thought he could be anything one day.” - Bruce Slade

“I will say he is maybe surprising us with how early he is doing it, given that he’s by Justify out of Fastnet Rock daughter of Seachange. They’re champions on both sides of the pedigree, but they’re horses that were perhaps better 3-year-olds than 2-year-olds, and may have even been better as 4-year-olds.

“He’s got plenty of scope, so it’s exciting to see him do it early, but we’re very mindful that it has only been in trials so far. I know Gai and Adrian are very keen to make it count at the races as well as the trials.

“Today you never really saw Regan ask him for an effort, just to get a bit more fitness under his belt and ready him for raceday for when the pressure does come on, so he knows how to respond when asked.”

Slade revealed that Storm Boy, who was identified by Coolmore’s racing and bloodstock manager John Kennedy as a horse of great promise in Sunday’s edition of The Thoroughbred Report, will now attempt to break his maiden in Sydney in the coming weeks, before being set on a path to the R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast in January.

A tilt at the G1 Golden Slipper S. in the autumn is not being ruled out either, such is the regard in which he is held by his trainers.

“Farnan, who won the Slipper for Gai and Adrian, was able to contest both races, and obviously Capitalist did it as well, so we know they can do it, but we’ll just try and get his debut off to the right start first and go from there, provided that he is a happy horse both mentally and physically,” Slade said.

“Gai and Adrian have a really high opinion of him and I know John (Kennedy) really liked the horse as a yearling himself, so fair dues to John.

“Physically we have always been impressed by him and thought he might have the right biomechanics and engine, but it’s nice to see that coupled with a great mental attitude and a horse who just wants to be there.

“So far so good, but we don’t want to count our chickens before they’ve hatched.”



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