Rookie trainer Donnacha O’Brien struck with his very first runner in England on Thursday when Fancy Blue battled on gamely to capture the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.
Her success comes a matter of weeks after the daughter of Deep Impact had captured the Prix de Diane at Chantilly, sealing a first Classic for the former jockey who only began training this year.
With Magic Wand making the running for O’Brien’s father Aidan, Fancy Blue began to make her challenge two furlongs from home. Magic Wand was proving a tough rival until Fancy Blue took over in the final furlong.
There was a strong late challenge from the Jessica Harrington-trained One Voice but Fancy Blue dug deep to score a neck with a further two and three quarter lengths back to Nazeef in third.
Speaking from Ireland where he had watched the race, O’Brien said: “She’s unbelievable. You never expect in your first year to get one like her. But when you have the pedigrees that Coolmore are breeding you always have a chance. I’m very lucky.
“I was given Fancy Blue as a yearling and you don’t really expect these kind of things. It is unlikely that the majority will be up to this sort of Group 1 class but you do right by them so that they will fulfil their potential and thankfully she has reached that class.
“It is unbelievable that I get a filly like her in my first year. People go a lifetime without getting a filly like her. I am under no illusions as to how lucky I am, and I just need to do the best I can with her.
“I was very happy with her; her work was really good. Everything had gone perfectly to plan so we were full of confidence today. We’ll give her a little break now; she’s had a busy start to the year and there’s not much for her for a few weeks.
“We might look at Irish Champions weekend to start her back, either in the Matron or the Irish Champion. Then we’ll probably go to Arc weekend, where she has the option of the Opera or the Arc itself.
“After that it will probably be either the Breeders’ Cup or a race in Japan in the middle of November.”
The Coolmore partners had earlier seen Mogul, a brother to Group 1 winner Japan, land the Group 3 Gordon Stakes over 1m4f.
Cox and Kirby deliver in Richmond again
A year on from Golden Horde’s success in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes, trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby combined again to land the 6f sprint with Supremacy.
Making all in the contest, there was no catching the colt who kicked clear of his rivals a furlong from home, recording an impressive four-length victory over Yazaman, with a neck back to Lauded in third.
By winning the Group 2, Supremacy emulated his sire, Tally-Ho Stud resident Mehmas, who captured the 2016 edition of this race for trainer Richard Hannon and owner Al Shaqab Racing.
Cox said: “We knew Supremacy was nice. He was very green last time but he has been a horse with a lovely temperament to deal with. Adam rode him last time at Windsor when he won in a very fast time and this was soon enough.
“In a perfect world, I would have liked another week or two to be honest with you. But he has done that so well and I am so pleased for him – he has taken a big step forward. Supremacy has bags of speed and the way he finished that race after going so quick was amazing.
“I think Golden Horde was a bigger horse at this stage of his life. What he did last year was amazing and clearly he has progressed as a three-year-old, winning the Commonwealth Cup.
“Supremacy is only just getting going really. This was a big enough step because it has been a strange year, but having confidence in a great bunch of horses at home with some great staff – I am just pleased the horse has been able to follow up like we thought he might be able to.
“He is obviously very high-class, so we’ll just think about where we go next. It is important to see how he comes out of it, as always – he is not just about this year.”