Aidan O’Brien secured a record-extending 17th win in the
Keeneland Phoenix Stakes after Little Big Bear bolted up at the Curragh, writes
The son of No Nay Never took apart a high quality juvenile field to give his trainer a first win in this race since 2017.
Persian Force battled hard to finish second while the heavily-fancied Bradsell did well just to get into contention under Hollie Doyle after stumbling at the start.
But it was the Ballydoyle colt, after going off at 13-8, who looked a class apart to record his fourth win on the spin.
Although the field was tightly bunched going into the business end of the six furlong contest, he surged clear inside the final furlong to move away from ease and make it a convincing win.
His stablemate Blackbeard was earlier declared a non-runner on Saturday morning due to an allergy.
Winning jockey Ryan Moore, who last won this race in 2016 on-board Peace Envoy, said he could have an exciting future ahead of him after his most high profile win to date.
“He did everything beautifully today,” said Moore. “As he did in the Anglesey (Stakes) the last time.
“He looked like he had good form in the book and it looked a strong race, but he was just a different level, so we’re delighted with him.
“He gave me a super feel the last time out. Maybe he didn’t beat much in the Anglesey but he felt really good doing it.
“It was hard to know what he was going to do, but he’s a very exciting colt.
“There’s every chance he could hopefully be a Guineas horse next year, but we’ll get this year out of the way first and see what he does in the winter I suppose
“He is a very straightforward horse and did it all on pure ability, I don’t have to do much on him.”
The winning trainer O'Brien added: "He looks a very special horse. We always thought from day one that he was something different. He's big, fast, strong and uncomplicated.
"It was a very good race, the best of the two-year-olds were there. Ryan
[Moore] was very complimentary about him and there's not too many horses Ryan is complimentary of."