David Wachman’s Sudirman causes upset in Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh
Red-hot favourite War Command could finish only third
William Lordan on Sudirman (centre) wins the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh ahead of 2nd placed Pat Smullen on Big Time (red and yellow) and third placed War Command ridden by Joseph O’Brien (white and green). Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
William Lordan celebrates winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes with Sudirman at the Curragh. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
There was a shock result to the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh yesterday as red-hot favourite War Command could finish only third behind David Wachman’s Sudirman.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained War Command ran out a brilliant winner when 20/1 for the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and he was unsurprisingly far shorter odds to make it three wins from as many starts, being sent off the 2/5 favourite.
However, with Mick Channon’s Ambiance setting a fierce pace, it was clear a long way from home that War Command was in trouble and Joseph O’Brien was hard at work in the saddle from well over a furlong out.
Sudirman, winner of the Railway Stakes over course and distance in late June, was a 4/1 shot in the hands of Wayne Lordan and moved sweetly throughout.
Railway runner-up Big Time came to challenge his old rival in the closing stages, but just as he had done 43 days earlier, Sudirman held on by half a length. To his credit, War Command did respond to pressure, finishing a further half a length away. Wachman said: “He’s a good tough horse, he won’t do too much when he gets there, he idles in front.”
Stan James introduced Sudirman as a 14/1 chance for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, while easing War Command to 10/1 from 5s. Kingman was cut to 13/2 favourite from 8/1.