The Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Aquis Farm Partnership will have two leading contenders in the Golden Slipper after Prague booked his spot, in the World’s most valuable two-year-old race, with his victory in the Pago Pago Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday 14th March 2020.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained runner will join the Partnerships’ Farnan (a Phoenix Thoroughbreds homebred colt) in the premier juvenile contest who had already secured his spot with wins in both the Silver Slipper and the Todman Stakes.
Ridden by British jockey Tom Marquand, who was reuniting with Prague following his winning ride on him in the Canonbury Stakes, the son of Redoute’s Choice showed talented and determination to grab his third success in four starts. Settling in third in the early stages Marquand was happy to let Prague bowl along and soon found himself just off the pacesetter entering the turn. As more rivals emerged as challengers, the winning pair found themselves in a three-way battle at the top of the straight but Prague put his head down under his jockey’s urgings and inside the final furling was well on top, winning by one and a half lengths.
“He’s a very relaxed horse and he is still learning his craft.” Said co-trainer Ciaron Maher. “You see last start off a slow pace he just over-raced a little bit. He needs to be ridden that way. Tom suits him as a strong rider. Hopefully, he sticks with him for next week.
“We thought that if he had to back up, that would work as his runs were well spaced early. Tighten him up and peak him for next week. He is a very relaxed colt and racing certainly doesn’t hurt him.
“He is still switching his ears around and he’s still progressing. I know there is a bit more in the tank and maybe the back-up will just switch him on a bit.”
This will be the second year on the bounce that Phoenix Thoroughbreds will have a major chance in the Golden Slipper. Both Prague and Farnan are following in the hoofprints of star filly Loving Gaby, who finished an unlucky fourth in the 2019 renewal. The fact they now have a pair of runners in the 2020 running highlights the growth and continued influence of Phoenix Thoroughbreds on global racing.
“When we set-up Phoenix Thoroughbreds our aim was to regularly compete in these top races.” said the Dubai-based group’s CEO Amer Abdulaziz of the Golden Slipper. “The fact that we had Loving Gaby run in it last year and will now have two this year shows the progress we have made and are still making. We remain very ambitious and, with luck, hope to continues what has been a stellar few months for us in Australia.
“We are very privileged to be in this position to have two going forward to the Slipper and have to thank our training teams for the superb job they are doing with these two colts.”
The Golden Slipper is scheduled to take place at Rosehill on March 21st.