Damson Spoils O'Brien's Bid for 7th Phoenix

Trainer Aidan O'Brien's bid for a seventh straight Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) for 2-year-olds at The Curragh came up short when unbeaten Damson, ridden by Kieren Fallon, beat a pair of of O'Brien-trained competitors.

O'Brien's Oratorio and Russian Blue were second and third in the six-furlong event.

Although O'Brien didn't win, the Entrepreneur filly is owned by O'Brien's major clients, Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor. David Wachman, who enjoyed his first group I success, trains Damson.

The win had Fallon thinking about next year's One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) with the Queen Mary Stakes winner.

"She will have absolutely no problem getting a mile," Fallon told Racing Post after Damson won in her first clash with the colts with a dynamic 4 3/4-length win. She's the first filly to take the Phoenix in 10 years.

Wachman said, "She was idling after she got to the front. It's a big relief to have had everything go so smoothly today and to have won a Group 1."

The 8-11 choice, Damson stalked Russian Blue and Oratorio into the final furlong and grabbed the lead between the two leaders with a sixteenth of a mile to go.

Oratorio finished a half-length in front of Russian Blue. The time was 1:13.29 on good to firm footing.

Billet, Camouflage and Premier Dance rounded out the order of finish.

In spite of the loss, O'Brien won four races at The Curragh Sunday. He captured the Royal Whip (Ire-II) with Solskjaer and the Patrick P. O'Leary Memorial Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Ire-III) with rebounding 3-year-old One Cool Cat against older horses at six furlongs, and the Robert H. Griffin Debutante (Ire-II) for 2-year-old fillies with Silk and Scarlet.

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