Zoffany Blitzes Strong Suit in Phoenix Stakes

Zoffany has moved to the head of the 2,000 Guineas betting, after securing an impressive victory with a blitzing late charge, guided by Johnny Murtagh, to out gun the race favourite Strong Suit, who finished in third place behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained victor and runner up Glor Na Mara, in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

The Curragh

The Curragh

Richard Hughes aboard Strong Suit, who had kept close to the front of the field, attempted to dominate the event with a furlong and a half to go, but was constantly troubled by Glor Na Mara on his outside.

Zoffany, previously defeated by Strong Suit in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot by eight and a quarter lengths, emerged from between the two leaders within the last furlong, dashing away to cross the line first by half a length, with Glor Na Mara overtaking the Richard Hannon trained favourite for second place.

O'Brien, who has had an astounding eleven victories from the past thirteen Phoenix Stakes, said of Zoffany, "He was very babyish at Ascot and his two races since have taught him a lot. All the time he's getting heavier and he's thriving on his racing so we'll keep him going.

"The Group 1 National Stakes (Sept 11) could be next, but we'll take it step by step. He's got seven furlongs easily twice, so a mile wouldn't be a problem."

Murtagh commented, "He was too keen at Ascot and his last runs have taught him how to settle. He did it well today -the good pace suited him and he got a lovely run."

Richard Hannon jnr said of Strong Suit, "Of course it's a bit disappointing and he hasn't confirmed the Coventry form over the winner. I thought looking at the race, he was in trouble a furlong out.

"We got beaten, but we'll get him home and scope him to see if there's anything wrong."

Jim Bolger, trainer of Glor Na Mara, said, "I was very pleased. It was a very good run considering he's a novice. There's no immediate plans, but we're looking at the Dewhurst (Oct 16) as an end-of-season target."

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