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Filly a match made in heaven for Morgan

6 min read
When Lot 257 strode into the Magic Millions sales ring on Wednesday, few knew better of what to expect from the filly than Peter Morgan, who trained both her sire I Am Invincible and her dam Eloping (Choisir).

Offered by Segenhoe Stud, who co-bred the filly with Michael Christian of Longwood Thoroughbred Farm, she would prove the top filly of the second day of the Gold Coast Yearling Sale, with Godolphin securing her for $900,000.

Morgan, who retired from training two years ago, was a very interested onlooker, as some of Australia's leading thoroughbred players fought for the right to buy the second foal and first filly from the mare.

"I felt like she was a bit of a mix. There is a bit of Eloping in there and there is a fair bit of Vinnie in there too. She's a lovely filly. I'm excited for Michael, but having trained both of them, they were both lovely horses and gave me no trouble. It was great to see that happen," Morgan told TDN AusNZ.

Eloping, who was a $120,000 buy at this Sale eight years ago, began her career with Morgan and Craig Widdison in 2013, winning her first two starts, including the Listed Blue Diamond Fillies' Prelude. In Christian's blue and green colours, she would run second in the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude behind Earthquake (Exceed And Excel).

Eloping when racing

She later contested the G1 Golden Slipper S. and won a G3 Keith Mackay S. in a busy 2-year-old campaign. Further stakes wins in the G3 Champagne S. and the Listed Blue Sapphire S. would follow in her 3-year-old season, which also saw her finish sixth after leading up the G1 Coolmore Stud S. won by Brazen Beau. She would later spend time with both John Sargent and Peter Robl, with whom she won a Listed Silk Stocking S. in the colours of Segenhoe.

Morgan remembers a filly of great precocity, and says if her daughter follows in her footsteps, she should give Godolphin plenty to cheer about next season.

"If the filly is like Eloping, they will have a lot of fun early with her. Eloping came out running early. She won a lot of VOBIS money. We might have been unlucky not to run a place in the Slipper with her on a wet track," he said.

"If the filly (Lot 257) is like Eloping, they (Godolphin) will have a lot of fun early with her. Eloping came out running early." - Peter Morgan

"She never really went sore until right near the end where she had a bit of a joint problem, but before that never went shinsore, and was always an easy horse to train. If this filly is like that, they'll have a lot of fun early."

That would be great news for Godolphin, who only three yeas ago sourced subsequent R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Exhilarates (Snitzel) from the Gold Coast Sale.

After initially mating Eloping with Sebring, with the now 3-year-old King Of Hearts, who recently debuted for Craig Carmody, Segenhoe and Christian then opted to go to I Am Invincible, who she initially missed with before getting this filly.

The cross of Choisir mares with the Yarraman Park resident has proven quite successful, with nine winners from 10 runners, and two stakes winners, headed by five-time black-type winner Eckstein.

There aren't many Australian sirelines that aren't compatible with 'Vinnie', who has proven the dominant outcross sire of the past five years, both on the track and in the sales ring.

Lot 257 - I Am Invincible x Eloping (filly)

Memories of Vinnie

His rise from a freshman son of Invincible Spirit (Ire) starting out at $11,000 (inc GST) to now the most expensive advertised sire in Australia has been one of the stories of the last decade in the local bloodstock industry.

It’s one Morgan has charted more closely than most, having taken control of the training of I Am Invincible after he had spells with Toby Edmonds, Matthew Smith, Clarry Conners and then Team Hawkes.

It was under his guidance that the talented sprinter reached his potential, winning a G3 McKay S. and running second to Takeover Target (Celtic Swing {GB}) in a G1 Goodwood H. He would also win a Listed Sir John Monash S.

Morgan said while he was always a talented and attractive horse, he has been amazed at what I Am Invincible has been able to achieve at stud.

I Am Invincible | Standing at Yarraman Park Stud

"I remember when the Mitchells came over and had a look at him. They started him off as a reasonably cheap stallion, but because he was so good looking, they thought he'd get some nice stock," he said.

"They could fill his book up for a bit of pocket money. We never, every dreamt that he would be that good, but he was a lovely horse and a good-looking horse.

"That's why they filled his book up, whether it was when he stood for $11,000, or when he was standing for $200,000 like he is now. The way he looked always got them in."

Vinnie demand rolls on

I Am Invincible's progeny have continued to appeal at the current Sale, with his progeny averaging well over $500,000, including a top price of $975,000.

Eloping has since produced a filly by Trapeze Artist, who is back at Christian's Longwood property in Victoria, while she is in foal to Snitzel.

"It’s a great arrangement we have with Kevin (Maloney) and Peter O'Brien, and we are really looking forward to the foals to come and also watching this filly in 12 months' time come back and win a Magic Millions," Christian said.

Michael Christian and Russell Dive

"This was an opportunistic situation that came up, in terms of our partnership, but they are great people and are a great organisation. It works well, and it’s great to be involved with them."

Morgan sees Wednesday's result as a great reward for those who showed the faith in two horses he had a lot to do with in their racing careers.

"Michael has had a good crack at it and the Mitchells, they have battled for 40 years to get a stallion like him. I'm so happy for them. They are good people and they deserve what they are getting," he said.