Tuesday 24 April 2018

Sioux Nation denies Elliott to lead Moore's treble charge

Ryan Moore drives Sioux Nation to victory in yesterday’s Phoenix Stakes. Photo credit: PA Wire
Ryan Moore drives Sioux Nation to victory in yesterday’s Phoenix Stakes. Photo credit: PA Wire

Johnny Ward

Ryan Moore spent rather more time than he usually would in his home from home, Ireland, this week.

Between two visits to the Dublin Horse Show, another visit to the capital for an official launch and one ride at Leopardstown on Thursday, the Englishman had been busy.

He even had time to jet off to America on Saturday but no day was as enjoyable as yesterday at the Curragh, when he took the big race among a treble.

The Phoenix Stakes was going to Aidan O'Brien for the 16th time as Sioux Nation justified sustained market support, denying Gordon Elliott a remarkable two-year-old top-level winner, as Beckford gallantly chased home the 2/1 winner. The feeling is that this is not an exceptional bunch of two-year-old speedsters - but a win is a win.

Sioux Nation held on by half-a-length under Moore, who always seemed in control. O'Brien, who took over as trainer at Ballydoyle in 1996, said: "Ryan was delighted with him, he's a big horse and still progressing. He has plenty of speed.

"We'll see how he is but you'd be thinking about the Middle Park and you could have a look at the National Stakes or Dewhurst. It depends on where the ground is as you wouldn't run him on bad ground; but six or seven furlongs he'll be very happy."

Moore was brilliant on Washington DC, which got up near the wire at 11/4 favourite to deny stablemate Cougar Mountain in the Phoenix Sprint Stakes. He gave the horse plenty of confidence throughout the six furlongs, and weaved his way through the field to win a shade snugly.

"He has a load of ability, loads of speed for five but it's just a little bit hard to produce him over five," said O'Brien. "Over six he has a little bit more time to produce him and wangle him through. He just doesn't want to be in front very long.

"He's the type of horse we'll have to turn up (everywhere) as he can be unlucky in a race. He loves coming through horses. I wouldn't be ruling York out or Haydock after that."

It would not be a major shock were the maiden winner, Mendelssohn, to prove better than his two winning stablemates. This colt oozed class on his second start, always in control under Moore to the delight of those who sent him off at 5/4 favourite.

"He came forward lovely from his first run but he's still very babyish. Obviously he will learn as he goes along. Ryan said he was very green in front and he was extremely green the first day when Wayne (Lordan) rode him," O'Brien said.

"Hopefully he'll grow out of that; sometimes it takes them two or three runs, but he's a lovely colt.

"You'd like to go for a winners' race with him rather than stepping him up because he's extra green," said O'Brien, who added that Deauville, a close third in the Arlington Million on Saturday under the jetsetting Moore, would continue to travel in pursuit of glory.


Jessica Harrington's 5/4 favourite Brick By Brick was pretty much a gate-to-wire winner in the first, while Eddie Lynam is dreaming of Group One glory with Muirin, which produced a really smart performance at 16/1 to upset the O'Brien-trained 2/5 favourite Puzzling in the fillies' race over seven furlongs.

"We have her in the Moyglare and we like the filly, so you are always dreaming about them a bit," said Lynam of Wayne Lordan's mount. "She's in the Moyglare and we'll think about it. Obviously Aidan will have six or seven good fillies to run in that!"

Joseph O'Brien, son of Aidan, registered a double at Downpatrick as his Mischievous Max (5/2) and Unicorn (9/1) scored for the young trainer.

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