Dick Whittington flies to Phoenix success
Dick Whittington came out on top in what was a cracking Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, showing admiral battling qualities to see off British raider and 8/11 favourite Kool Kompany to take the Group 1 contest.
Torrential rain during the day had made for testing conditions and also forced the withdrawal of the strong fancy Anthem Alexander. Aidan O’Brien was also forced to withdraw the pair of War Envoy and The Great War, which in turn would free up his son Joseph to take the ride on Dick Whittington.
The testing ground was thought to be ideal for the raiding favourite Kool Kompany, who was a Group 2 winner in France last time on very soft ground, having previously taken the Railway Stakes over today’s course and distance back in June. Richard Hannon’s charge, with the unique big white face, travelled well through the early stages, in fact maybe a little too well – as he gave Richard Hughes a tough time of it pulling for his head.
The pair soon found themselves stuck for room and were made to move wide approaching the 2 pole, where they came into contact with Dick Whittington who was starting to make his move down the far side under Joseph O’Brien. The pair would become involved in a great battle entering the final furlong, whilst Capella Sansevero was also not finished as he began to rally on the stand-side.
Dick Whittington always seemed to be on top however and eventually battled on to come home the winner by just 1/2 length to Kool Kompany. Capella Sansevero returned to the form he had shown earlier in his career to finish a close up third.
Winning trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “He’s a tough, hardy horse. We weren’t sure before today if he would get a mile or not but after that you would think he will.
“He won very well on fast ground at Navan and I’d say the ground doesn’t seem to bother him.
“He’s had a busy enough time for a young horse so we won’t be in any panic with him now. He’s had a tough race there and we’ll give him a little break.
“The dad (Rip Van Winkle) was very genuine, and it’s good to see he’s passed that on.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Pat Healy/PA Wire
Signup to our RSS feed