Balestrini sired his first winner when Milan’s Thunder led all the way on the opening day of the Avon Valley season at Northam yesterday.
Milan’s Thunder (2g Balestrini – Savannah Storm by Metal Storm) scooted three lengths clear when the field cornered and was still over a length ahead at the finish of the Library & Killara Maiden (1000m).
The gelding had won a couple of Belmont Park barrier trials but had faded at his first two starts this year at Pinjarra and Ascot. Trainer Graham Webster Snr added blinkers and the gelding didn’t look back while sizzling around Northam’s dog-leg course in 57.15s.
Balestrini carried Coolmore Stud’s colours to a G3 victory in the 2003 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown. The Danehill colt made all the running to beat subsequent Irish Derby and King George winner Alamshar. A year earlier, Coolmore won the Ballysax with High Chaparral.
Balestrini was bred by Pat O’Kelly at Kilcarn Stud in County Meath and cost Coolmore 1.20 million pounds (AUD 3.42 million) at the 2001 Goffs Orby Sale.
His dam Welsh Love also foaled Coolmore’s Champion 2YO Second Empire (Fairy King) who is now based in South Africa after being used at Heytesbury Stud. Another of her foals Ihtiram (Royal Academy) is also stationed in WA. He sired champion mare Miss Andretti and now stands at Taunton Vale Stud.
Welsh Love’s fourth son to see service in Australia is Bullarook Stud’s unbeaten stallion Hemingway (Spectrum). He has a winning strike rate of 60.6%.
Balestrini stands at Korilya Stud after being originally based at Bellbridge Stud. Milan’s Thunder’s dam Savannah Storm is an unraced half-sister to Listed WA Summer Scorcher winner Scuffs (Speed Week). Their dam Silver Slipper (Zabaleta) is a half-sister to Heytesbury Stud homebreds Hold That Smile and Carry A Smile.
Milan’s Thunder failed to reach a $15,000 reserve when offered by Hampton Park (as agent) at the 2009 Perth Magic Millions. Savannah Storm foaled a Balestrini filly in October 2008 but the mare died in September 2009.
Korilya Stud’s Ellie Giles stood Balestrini for a $4,400 service fee in 2009.