Phoenix Stakes odds: Aidan O’Brien backed to maintain dominance
Unquestionable is 9/4 favourite with Coral to give trainer Aidan O’Brien an 18th victory in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on Saturday.
O’Brien initially had six entries for the 6f Curragh Group One, including Coventry Stakes star River Tiber, but the Ballydoyle maestro relies on Unquestionable and 12/1 chance His Majesty.
The market leader was beaten a short-head by the reopposing Bucanero Fuerte over the same course and distance last month but is fancied to gain revenge.
“With Unquestionable leading the Ballydoyle challenge for a race the yard has dominated for years, we have made him narrow favourite to reverse placings with Bucanero Fuerte from last month’s Railway Stakes,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
Bucanero Fuerte belied odds of 16/1 when third of 20 behind River Tiber in the Coventry, going down by just a length.
The Adrian Murray-trained juvenile subsequently proved that performance was no fluke by edging out Unquestionable at Group Two level here and is 5/2 for the Phoenix.
“All has gone well since the Railway,” said Murray. “We took him and Valiant Force to work at the Curragh last week and we were very happy with the two of them. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards.”
Donnacha O’Brien is confident his Royal Ascot heroine Porta Fortuna can give the colts a run for their money in Saturday’s big race, which is being broadcast live on ITV4.
The Albany Stakes scorer is quoted at 11/4 to secure a fourth straight success, with Oisin Murphy taking over from Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
“She’s won two Group races now, two Group Threes, so I suppose the next step now is to let her have a go at a Group One,” commented the handler. “She’s in good form and working well, so we’re looking forward to it.
“There’s three or four there that are very close on ratings, there’s a few that could win it. It’s a very open race and it should be good.”
Jessica Harrington’s Coventry fourth Givemethebeatboys is rated an 11/2 shot, while outsiders Gaenari and Launch, Murray’s second string, complete the line-up.
5/2 Bucanero Fuerte
11/4 Porta Fortuna
12/1 His Majesty
All odds and market correct at date of publication