Sudirman Surprises War Command in Phoenix

Sudirman caused quite a surprise when he upset heavily favored War Command in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes in his group I debut Aug. 11 at Ireland's Curragh.

Just five 2-year-olds contested the six-furlong event, with Coventry Stakes (Ire-II) winner War Command an overwhelming 2-5 pick for trainer Aidan O'Brien. But Sudirman, settled behind lively pacesetter Ambiance in third at the halfway point, got first run on the waiting War Command to take the lead a furlong out for jockey Wayne Lordan.

Sudirman, a 4-1 chance in a small field for the first European group I of the year for 2-year-olds, was all out as they proceeded to win by half a length.

Big Time, who kept the pressure on Sudirman all the way to the wire, finished second with the previously unbeaten War Command another half-length behind in third. The final time was 1:09.35 over good going.

It was the third consecutive win for Sudirman since graduating at Leopardstown in his third start June 20. He returned nine days later to capture six-furlong Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Railway Stakes (Ire-II) at the Curragh.

Bred in Kentucky by Kathryn Nikkel and Jeanne Canty, Sudirman is by Henrythenavigator out of the stakes-winning Irish mare Shermeen, by Desert Style. The bay colt fetched $320,500 from John Warren Bloodstock during Book 1 at the 2012 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale through consignor Keith Harte. Sudirman is owned by Mrs. Fitri Hay and Mrs. John Magnier.

"He's a good tough horse and he just doesn't do a lot when he gets there (to the lead)," said winning trainer David Wachman.

"We'll look at going up to seven furlongs with him now and the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes (Ire-I) is a race we'll consider."

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