Whittington rises in Phoenix
Published 10/08/2014 | 18:06
Aidan O'Brien extended his tremendous record in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes as Dick Whittington knuckled down to claim Group One glory at the Curragh.
With the master of Ballydoyle electing to withdraw The Great War and War Envoy on account of the rain-softened ground, and Eddie Lynam's Royal Ascot heroine Anthem Alexander also taken out, Anglesey Stakes winner Dick Whittington was a 6-1 shot under Joseph O'Brien.
Richard Hannon's 8-11 favourite Kool Kompany was briefly kept in by O'Brien as he attempted to pull out to challenge Cappella Sansevero, but he fought his way out and as the two principals settled down for a scrap in the final furlong it was Dick Whittington who found extra in the final strides to secure victory.
The stewards called an inquiry in the immediate aftermath, but it did not take long for them to decide the placings should remain unaltered, and the result stood.
The winning trainer 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."
RaceBets and Betfred quote Dick Whittington at 20-1 for next year's Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
O'Brien has saddled no less than 12 previous winners of the six-furlong contest, with the likes of Johannesburg (2001), George Washington (2005), Holy Roman Emperor (2006) and Mastercraftsman (2008) on the roll of honour.