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Dwyer full of praise for Raise The Flag

(Riding High clearing a hurdle)

Melbourne trainer Henry Dwyer sung the praises of White Robe Lodge sire Raise The Flag following Riding High's win over hurdles at Warrnambool on Tuesday.

The Raise The Flag 6yr-old from Anziyan mare, Enzed, remained unbeaten over fences when powering along the inner to win a novice hurdle event for rider Tom Saddler.

Riding High was bred Kathryn Abernethy, of Mosgiel, and raced by Brian and Lorraine Anderton in partnership with Terry and Kate Burke, of New South Wales.

The owners sold the horse to clients of Dwyer's stable after winning twice from Brian and Shane Anderton's White Robe Lodge Stable.

A major selling point for the Melbourne trainer was Riding High's sire, Raise The Flag.

"The first thing that aroused our interest in Riding High as a jumping prospect was his sire, Raise the Flag," Dwyer said.

"You wouldn't find a better bred horse, being a half-brother to Champion Stallions Dansili and Champs Elysses as well as Champion Racemares Intercontinental and Banks Hill."

"Raise the Flag found a home at White Robe Lodge, deep in the South Island of New Zealand, where horses are broken in ... and given all the time in the world to develop and mature."
"The end result being incredibly sound, tough older horses that race on year after year."

"He (Raise The Flag) produces incredibly sound, tough, dour horses and seemingly the harder you work them the better they go."

After aquiring the horse, Dwyer immediately circled the Novice Hurdle (3200m) at Warrnambool's May Carnival as Riding High's first major target.

"While his (New Zealand) form didn't immediately jump off the page as a high-class jumping prospect, there's a number of reasons why we identified him as our next potential top-liner."

Riding High was unplaced in his first two starts in Australia, but then saluted the judge in his next two appearances over 2000m.

Dwyer's judgment was justified at Pakenham last month when Riding High won his jumping debut in the Maiden Hurdle (3200m).

"We have always said he would make a steeplechaser."
"He is still a bit careful of the jumps, he certainly wasn't making any ground at the jumps, if anything he lost a length or two at each one."

Dwyer was delighted with the win and is now eyeing some loftier targets with his promising jumper.

"He's just a typical, South Island, White Robe Lodge-bred horse."

"He just relaxes in his runs and stays all day.

"We have always had a view to chase him next year and whatever he did this year was a bonus.

"He has been in work since late last year, so we will just play it as it comes."

"You would think a logical race for him would be the Australian Hurdle, but we will just see how it unfolds."

Riding High beat home another White Robe Lodge product in Flying Agent, who ran third.

The Raise The Flag 6yr-old from Personal Escort mare, Nancy Wake, has produced consistent form since he also crossed the Tasman.

Flying Agent, bred by Brian and Lorraine Anderton, left White Robe Lodge's training arm to pursue the extensive range of staying opportunities in Victoria for his owners Dean Lawrence, Diana Duff-Staniland and Paul Duffus.


- Additional reporting by Jonny Turner