Flying Agent a budding star
By Jonny Turner
An incredible 17-length win at Warnambool by former White Robe Lodge galloper Flying Agent continued Raise The Flag's phenomenal form in Australia over the weekend.
In just his second start over bigger fences, the 7yr-old looked like a future steeplechasing star when running to his big win for trainer Amy McDonald and rider Lee Horner.
Despite her horse's exciting win, McDonald is keeping her feet planted firmly on the ground when assessing Flying Agent's future.
The Ballarat trainer wants to see the Raise The Flag gelding, from Personal Escort mare, Nancy Wake, progress through the steeplechasing grades before he goes on to bigger things.
"It is too easy to get carried away and there is no harm trying to go through the grades," McDonald said on Melbourne radio this week.
"I really like him, so I don't want to rush anything."
Bred and raised at White Robe Lodge by Brian and Lorraine Anderton, Flying Agent is raced by stud clients Dean Lawrence, Diana Duff-Staniland and Paul Duffus.
The owners called McDonald after the trainer contacted Brian Anderton to enquire about the promising steeplechaser.
Flying Agent is a lightly framed horse, which could explain why he is so nimble over steeplechase fences.
"From the minute he arrived I absolutely loved him," McDonald said.
"There was never much of him and Brian Anderton said he used to feed him as much as he can, but he never gets any bigger, which is totally fine."
Flying Agent's pedigree could also help explain why he is such a good jumper.
The 7yr-old is a half-brother to top Australian jumper, Spying On You.
Also bred by Brian and Lorraine Anderton, the Yamanin Vital gelding from Nancy Wake has won 12 races and more than A$600,000 in prize money across the Tasman.
Six of Spying On You's wins have come over fences, including his standout victory in the $160,000 Great Eastern Steeplechase at Oakbank.
Flying Agent and Spying On You have another little brother across the Tasman with them in Stayawake.
The Zacinto 4yr-old has won twice in Victoria since leaving White Robe Lodge and heading to Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra's Flemington stable.
Nancy Wake has left two subsequent foals by White Robe Lodge sire, Ghibellines.
The grand producer has a 2yr-old filly and a weanling filly at the stud.