Phoenix Of Spain rises to the occasion in Acomb Stakes at York

Wed 22 Aug 2018

Phoenix Of Spain looks to have a bright future after running down the favourite Watan to win the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York.

A winner on the all-weather at Wolverhampton last time out, the Lope De Vega colt was sent off at 9-2 in the Group Three contest.

Oisin Murphy appeared to have everything under control on the strongly-fancied Watan, but Jamie Spencer – who enjoyed a five-timer at Yarmouth on Tuesday – brought Charlie Hills’ youngster over to the stands rail for the final push.

He pulled a length and a half clear from there to give Hills a second win in the race after Dutch Connection in 2014.

Hills said: “He was impressive at Wolverhampton and we felt York would suit him better.

“I thought Jamie gave him a great ride. He was a bit windy beforehand and he settled him well.

“Once he got daylight he picked up nicely and finished well. You’d like to think a mile would be within his compass this season.”

The winner was introduced into the 2000 Guineas betting at 20-1 by Betfair and 33-1 by RaceBets.

On future plans, Hills said: “He’s in the Royal Lodge and the Dewhurst, but I’m not sure how he’d handle Newmarket. I don’t think he’d want very fast ground, either.

“Jamie was keen to go for the Racing Post Trophy so we might aim towards that.”

There are few more likeable horses in training than John Quinn’s El Astonaute and he won on the Knavesmire for the second time this season in the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap.

Known for his trailblazing tactics, over an extra half a furlong apprentice jockey Rossa Ryan allowed him to take a lead this time, as Final Venture led them down the middle.

Nothing if not game, John Quinn’s 12-1 chance defied a mark of 101 in winning by a neck and will now step back up in class.

Quinn said: “He’s a wonderful horse and loves it here. He’s been running at big meetings all year and running well.

“He got a lead today, which was great. There was a lot of pace on and Rossa settled him in behind another horse, which meant he wasn’t flat to the mat the whole way.

“He’s a very admirable horse and these sprinters do get better as they get older.”

He added: “We talked about the Prix de l’Abbaye this morning, but decided not to put him in it this year.

“There’s races like the Beverley Bullet and the Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster we can look at before the end of the turf season.

“He’s a spirited horse who goes out on his own. When I first got him we worked him in a string and he didn’t like that much, hence why his first three runs were a bit shaky.

“You just have to learn what they like. Horses don’t make mistakes, we do.”

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