La Collina upsets odds as fillies rule

Niall Cronin

It was all about the fillies on a top-class Curragh card yesterday.

This season's first Group One for juveniles in Ireland saw Kevin Prendergast's La Collina cause a 33/1 upset as she saw off seven colts and one filly in the Keenland Phoenix Stakes at HQ.

Although a big price, the victory was yet another Group One for the legendary Prendergast who was winning the race for a fifth time and it also hinted that the form lines of the Irish fillies this year is far superior to that of the juvenile colts.

La Collina had also got the option of the Group Two Debutante Stakes on the same card but Prendergast proved why he is still going strong into his sixth decade as a trainer.

"She was in the Debutante Stakes, but I just felt she might have too hard a race in that against the filly that beat her the last day (Maybe) so I said we'd take her chance here," Prendergast revealed.

La Collina now heads for the Moyglare back at the Curragh later this month and that race is already shaping up to be a cracking renewal.

"The natural progression would be the Moyglare and she'll go there next," Prendergast said.

Declan McDonogh was naturally overjoyed to add another Group One to his impressive CV and he said: "If they haven't temperament, they've nothing and she has it in abundance.

"I didn't get the clearest of runs but I switched her a few times and was just lucky I got a clear run when I did."

La Collina's form got a boost prior to the feature race as Aidan O'Brien's Maybe bolted up in the Debutante Stakes to maintain her unbeaten record.

Ridden by the trainer's son, Joseph, the market leader settled the matter in a number of strides and is also set to feature in the Moyglare Stakes.

"I just let her find her own way after Leopardstown. I was afraid of the ground before today but it didn't seem to affect her at Royal Ascot either so she has no problem," O'Brien said.

Maybe was completing a double on the card for the father and son combination as they got the ball rolling in the opening race with newcomer Was.

Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning obtained some slight compensation for a very near miss in the Irish Oaks as Banimpire enhanced her reputation with yet another victory, this time in the Royal Whip Stakes.

The Royal Ascot winner was scoring for the sixth time this season and seventh in total as Bolger admitted she may well stay in training next season. Again the Moyglare is an option later in the month or "we might go to France for the Prix de l'Opera," said the trainer.