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Lucky Vega takes the Phoenix S...
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Lucky Vega takes the Phoenix Stakes for Jessica Harrington

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

16:46 9 Aug 2020

Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley combined for Group One glory at The Curragh on Sunday afternoon with Lucky Vega in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes.

The Phoenix was the colt's second run over track and trip and Lucky Vega was a devastatingly impressive winner having been turned over in the Railway Stakes just 22 days previously.

The market flipped before the race with British raider The Lir Jet and Michael O'Callaghan's Steel Bull both easing in the market. There was support for the Aidan O'Brien trained maiden St Mark's Basilica and also the eventual winner.

Those who had backed the winner had very few moments of concern. The son of Lope de Vega travelled smoothly throughout with Foley clearly travelling best as they approached the final furlong.

When asked for an effort the response from Lucky Vega was instant hitting the front and winning going away, suggesting an extra furlong could be within his compass next time out.

The win was the third time Jessica Harrington and Shane foley have combined to win a Group One in the last year, following the successes of Millisle and Albigna last autumn.

For Chinese owner Zhang Yeushang, who has been a significant bloodstock investor for the last few years, it was a first win at the top level.

“He was good. That's Mr Zhang's first Group One winner worldwide. I'm absolutely delighted, for the horse and it's great for Mr Zhang,” Jessica Harrington said post-race.

“He's a nice horse going forward and Shane said he's getting quicker.

“He probably needed it the last day because he had won his maiden without getting into a battle. The last day when he got into a bit of a battle it just hardened him up.

“He was much more streetwise and on his work at home, he had really started to come to himself. We thought he was working well but you never know until you go racing and everyone said this was a strong renewal.

“We'll have to sit down and think now but Shane said we'd probably be thinking about the Middle Park. I think he'll get seven as well.

“Last year was all about the fillies so it's great this year to come up with a good colt.”

There was a Stewards Enquiry after the race where the placing of the second and third home was reversed. The amended result read: first Lucky Vega, second The Lir Jet, third Aloha Star. 

Following the race, trainer Michael O'Callaghna reported his runner, Steel Bull hit his head on the stalls cutting his lip and breaking two teeth, resulting in a below-par performance.

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Jessica Harrington Phoenix Stakes Shane Foley The Curragh

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