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Dublin: 4°C Monday 1 March 2021

Lucky Vega gives Jessie Harrington Group 1 glory at the Curragh

Young star wins Phoenix Stakes in the hands of Shane Foley.

Lucky Vega powered home in the Phoenix Stakes.
Lucky Vega powered home in the Phoenix Stakes.
Image: PA

LUCKY VEGA LOOKED a high-class colt in the making as he powered to an impressive victory in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Giorgio Visari and Ventura Tormenta had taken the Group One field along, but while Prix Robert Papin winner Ventura Tormenta started to feel the pace from two furlongs out, Lucky Vega (4-1) travelled smoothly in behind and really opened up from a furlong out.

Shane Foley’s mount went further clear the further they went, having three and a half lengths in hand of Aloha Star at the line, with Papin runner-up The Lir Jet a short-head back in third. However, a stewards’ inquiry subsequently reversed the placings of Aloha Star and The Lir Jet.

Harrington said: “He was good. That’s Mr (Yuesheng) Zhang’s first Group One winner worldwide. I’m absolutely delighted for the horse and it’s great for Mr Zhang.

“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.

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“We thought he was working well, but you never know until you go racing and everyone said this was a strong renewal.”

Betfair gave Lucky Vega a 16-1 quote for next year’s 2000 Guineas, and looking to the immediate future, Harrington said: “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.”

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