Keeneland Phoenix Stakes  

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La Collina Takes Flight in Phoenix Stakes

1 La Collina 33/1
2 Power 7/4F
3 Tough As Nails 12/1
9 ran Distances: nk, 1¾l, ½l
TIME 1m 13.30s (slow by 2.30s)

La Collina
© Caroline Norris

La Collina
La Collina collared Power close home to land a 33-1 surprise success in the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Declan McDonogh brought Kevin Prendergast's filly, who had given Maybe a scare at Leopardstown on her previous start, with a devastating turn of foot as she weaved through the field to storm past Aidan O'Brien's runner in the last 50 yards.

The strongly fancied Frederick Engels lost all chance when badly hampered by Parish Hall as he tried to make his bid about a furlong out and the always prominent Power looked to have it in the bag when he went clear, before La Collina arrived on the scene to score by a neck.

McDonogh said: "This is a big lift for everybody. It's been a very slow start for the stable.

"They went hard and there was a bit of traffic at halfway. I just got out and was lucky with the clear run I got. I never got stopped. I just had to switch a couple of times.

"Johnny (Murtagh on Frederick Engels) went for a run on the fence and I was following him for most of the way and it (the gap) was closing from where I was looking at. I thought I wasn't going there, so I switched away from them and I'm lucky I did.

"I got outpaced early and let her find her feet. She's a very good two-year-old and that was a true test. She's all heart."

Prendergast added: "I'm delighted with that - she was working well at home. I though both this race and the Debutante were tough races, but the Ascot form didn't work out well so I picked this race for her instead.

"Also, Maybe was giving us 3lb the last day at Leopardstown, so I wasn't keen to take her on again off level weights. She will go for the Moyglare Stud Stakes next (Curragh, August 28)."

David Redvers, racing manager for Frederick Engels' owners Pearl Bloodstock, later tweeted: "Poor Freddy got murdered by Manning and nearly pushed over rail. Finished well and JP (Murtagh) convinced he could have won."

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