Lucky Vega 16-1 for 2000 Guineas following impressive Phoenix Stakes victory

Sun 9 Aug 2020

Watch a full replay of how the Jessica Harrington-trained colt landed the eventful Group One feature plus read what the winning-trainer had to say afterwards.

Lucky Vega looked a high-class colt in the making as he powered to an impressive victory in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Successful first time out, the Jessica Harrington-trained colt was second to the reopposing Laws Of Indices over this course and distance last time out and was always moving with some purpose during this latest assignment.

Giorgio Visari and Ventura Tormenta had taken the Group One field along, but while Prix Robert Papin winner Ventura Tormenta started to feel the pace from two furlongs out, Lucky Vega (4-1) travelled smoothly in behind and really opened up from a furlong out.

Shane Foley's mount went further clear the further they went, having three and a half lengths in hand of Aloha Star at the line, with Papin runner-up The Lir Jet a short-head back in third. However, a stewards' inquiry subsequently reversed the placings of Aloha Star and The Lir Jet.

Laws Of Indices ran on for fourth, having been a little slowly away.

Harrington said: “He was good. That’s Mr (Yuesheng) Zhang’s first Group One winner worldwide. I’m absolutely delighted for the horse and it’s great for Mr Zhang.

“He’s a nice horse going forward and Shane said he’s getting quicker. He probably needed it the last day because he had won his maiden without getting into a battle. The last day when he got into a bit of a battle it just hardened him up.

“He was much more streetwise and on his work at home he had really started to come to himself.

“We thought he was working well, but you never know until you go racing and everyone said this was a strong renewal.”

Lucky Vega is now a general 16-1 chance for next year’s 2000 Guineas, and looking to the immediate future, Harrington said: “We’ll have to sit down and think now, but Shane said we’d probably be thinking about the Middle Park. I think he’ll get seven as well.

“Last year was all about the fillies, so it’s great this year to come up with a good colt.”

Glen Shiel got up close home to give trainer Archie Watson a quick big-race double in the Rathasker Stud Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh.

Just 14 minutes after Maystar lifted a Listed contest at Deauville, Glen Shiel kept the flag flying for Group Three honours.

Jungle Jane took the field along until the business end where a host of horses, including Forever In Dreams, Speak In Colours, Millisle and Buffer Zone, had chances.

However, Oisin Orr conjured a great run of Glen Shiel (12-1), who knuckled down to land the prize by a neck from Sonaiyla. Forever In Dreams was a head away third in a blanket finish.

“He’s very tough, ideally I didn’t want to be in behind them but when I did get him out and got him rolling he came home well,” said Orr.

“He stays a bit further and when I got him out and in the clear he hit the hill well.

“Thanks to connections for letting me on him.”

Classic-placed So Wonderful finally came good at the 15th attempt when nursed home by Wayne Lordan to win the Hashtag ForTheLoveOfKildare Fillies Maiden.

Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old had put in a host of high-class displays, including when third in the Irish 1000 Guineas, but had become frustrating after being beaten in maiden events on her last two starts.

However, she was cajoled to end her winless days and crossed the line first as the 13-8 favourite, albeit by just a neck from Lady Anner.

“On her form you could see she has plenty of talent and it was nice to get her head in front to break her maiden,” said Lordan.

Thunder Moon (10-1) looks a bright prospect judged on his winning debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained youngster quickened clear in the final furlong under Declan McDonogh to beat the more experienced Colour Sergeant by three and three-quarter lengths.

“I think he’s a smart horse. He went to a barrier trial a couple of weeks ago and did it well,” said O’Brien’s assistant, Brendan Powell.

“He’s typical of a Zoffany, very relaxed and a lovely natured horse. He’s got a lot of filling out to do.

“Declan said he didn’t even have to hit him. He was just niggling him and as soon as he soon really grabbed hold of him, gave him a squeeze, he picked up and found that turn of foot. That’s a good asset to have.

“He’ll make up into a lovely three-year-old.”

Revolutme (16-1) made amends for a disappointing effort at Sligo on Friday to open her account in the Sheehy Motors Volkswagen Trophy Handicap.

Johnny Murtagh’s charge only finished fifth when favourite last time – but losses were recouped and confidence restored as the Fast Company filly struck by a length and a quarter from Tammany Hall in the hands of 5lb claimer Danny Sheehy.

“She didn’t handle the track in Sligo and we were very disappointed,” said Murtagh.

“Ben (Coen) said she got a bit of a bump on the bend there as well. I told Danny that he was drawn one and to just go straight as I think she got intimidated the last day.

“We always thought she’d be capable of winning one of these nurseries. She will like softer ground so hopefully she can improve from here and pick up another one of those.

“She’s tough and hardy – she’s not too big but has a great heart.”

Willie McCreery’s Call Of The Jungle (13-2), ridden by 5lb claimr Nathan Crosse, got off the mark at the 12th time of asking when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

“It’s great to get her a win. She’s a tough hardy little filly,” said McCreery.

“I thought Nathan was very good on her today as they went very hard and he didn’t panic on her. He was good and strong in the finish and she stayed out the last 100 yards very well.”

Paddy Harnett successfully deputised for Joey Sheridan on Bahlwan (15-2) in the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition Handicap for Denis Hogan.

“That’s twice this season that Paddy has had spare rides for me and they’ve won,” said Hogan.

“Boughtinthedark at Navan when Joey forget to register and today Joey got a blowout (on his car).

“Paddy comes into us one day a week and he’s a good kid. He’s a real nice fella as well as a good rider and he’ll do well.”

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