La Petite Coco took the rise in class in her stride to record an impressive victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.
Paddy Twomey’s three-year-old was following in the illustrious hoofprints of subsequent Breeders’ Cup heroine Tarnawa, who had won this Group Three in each of the last two years.
La Petite Coco will need to extend her improvement significantly, of course, to approach the level set by Dermot Weld’s dual Group One and Grade One winner.
Nonetheless, the 2-1 favourite was most convincing under Billy Lee – taking over from the front-running High Heels in the straight and surging clear to win by five and a half lengths from closest market rival Thunder Kiss.
The daughter of Ruler Of The World has therefore put higher-profile, and possibly global, future assignments in her diary – having stepped up so decisively from her second career success at Killarney last month.
Twomey said: “We’ve had her since April, and she has not put a foot wrong.
“I was very keen to go to Killarney the last day for experience when the chance was there.
“The owners wanted to go straight into Group company, but I talked them out of it – and I’m glad now we did.
“She is progressing physically and is enjoying training and has plenty of talent.”
The Tipperary trainer has his sights on possible trips to Europe, even across the Atlantic – or just over the Irish Sea for Qipco British Champions Day.
He added: “She has plenty of entries, and I said after Killarney that the EP Taylor is a possible – but I have her in the Champion Fillies and Mares race at Ascot in October, and the Prix Vermeillle is in France for her also.
“She is versatile ground-wise. While she has to step up past Group Three, I think (this trip of) a mile and a half is no problem to her – although she has the pace for 10 furlongs.
“I was hoping she’d do something like that.”
Earlier on the card, Snapraeterea produced a smart staying performance from the front to return to winning ways in the Listed Platinum Stakes.
Joseph O’Brien’s three-year-old scored decisively, back down slightly in class to this grade after four creditable efforts at up to 10 furlongs in Group Three company.
The 13-2 shot had won over the same seven-furlong trip in Listed class at Naas in May, and repeated the dose here.
Declan McDonogh had Snapraeterea prominent throughout and strode clear in the final two furlongs to win by four lengths from 33-1 outsider Surrounding.
O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell was full of praise for the winner.
“He is one of the toughest, most honest horses you’d ever get,” he said.
“I think the mile and a furlong and a half the last day was too far for him. Declan said he loved this straight seven, and burned them all off one by one.
“John (Farrell) bred and owns all the family, has kept them all – and the horse and owner deserve every success.”