Alfred Nobel wore down a stubborn Air Chief Marshal to capture the Camas Park and Ashtown House Studs Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) by a determined half-length at the Curragh July 26.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who conditions both Alfred Nobel and Air Chief Marshal, recorded his 10th victory in the last 12 renewals of this prestigious event for 2-year-olds.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh settled Alfred Nobel at the back of the field as his stable companions, Reggae Dancer and Air Chief Marshal, set a blistering pace up front during the early stages of the six-furlong contest.
As Reggae Dancer began to weaken, Air Chief Marshal took command and looked poised to give young apprentice jockey Joseph O’Brien his first group I victory. Murtagh then began to go to work on Alfred Nobel, and the duo launched a bid from the back of the pack.
Walk On Bye, who went off as the second choice in the wagering, was also beginning her run for rider Wayne Lordan. She was unable to sustain her challenge, though, as Alfred Nobel collared Air Chief Marshal inside the final furlong.
The Ballydoyle pair slugged it out in the final strides, with Alfred Nobel finally getting the better of his stablemate by a half-length.
Walk On Bye finished third, another 2 1/2 lengths back, providing Coolmore stallion Danehill Dancer with a sweep of the top three spots. Final time for the six furlongs over the heavy going was 1:20.32.
Winning trainer O’Brien confirmed one of the major goals for Alfred Nobel is the Stanjames.com Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) next year. O’Brien told the Racing Post, “He's a proper horse and will hopefully be a Guineas horse. We will look at the National Stakes (Ire-I) for him this year.”
“He has progressed with every run and he has an impressive change of gears. It was just a case of if he could use them on that ground,” O’Brien continued. “Not many horses can do that and he looks a real good one.”
Regarding Air Chief Marshal, who was ridden by his eldest son, O’Brien said, “He ran a super race and he is starting to get his act together. He is versatile with regards to trip and has plenty of options.”
Alfred Nobel was bred in Ireland by Lodge Park Stud and is campaigned by Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor. He is out of the Desert Prince mare Glinting Desert, and hails from the female family of champion New Approach.
Pressing Prevails in Germany
Globetrotting Pressing notched his second group I victory when he prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Precious Boy in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Ger-I) at Munich July 26.
Rated in fourth early by jockey Neil Callan, Pressing took command in the home straight, opening a two-length lead with under a furlong to run. Local hope Precious Boy rallied strongly under Andreas Suborics, but couldn’t catch the winner, falling three-quarters of a length short.
Trincot held on for third, another 1 1/2 lengths further back. Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:11.27 over soft going.
Pressing is owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Michael Jarvis. The 6-year-old horse is by Soviet Star and is out of the winning Riverman mare, Rafif. He was bred in Ireland by Agricola del Parco.