Bucanero Fuerte rises to the challenge in Phoenix Stakes

Bucanero Fuerte provided trainer Adrian Murray and owners Amo Racing with a first taste of Group One success with an impressive display in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Third behind the unbeaten River Tiber in the Coventry at Royal Ascot, the Wootton Bassett colt had since edged out the reopposing Unquestionable to lift the Group Two Railway Stakes over the Phoenix course and distance.

Unquestionable was the 15-8 favourite for the rematch as he looked to provide Aidan O’Brien with a staggering 18th victory in the race, but Bucanero Fuerte reaffirmed his superiority in no uncertain terms under Kevin Stott.

On the speed from the start, Stott’s mount kicked away from Unquestionable entering the final two furlongs and it was soon all over bar the shouting.

Porta Fortuna, the previously unbeaten Albany Stakes winner, came from further back in an attempt to bridge the gap, but Bucanero Fuerte was well on top and had four lengths in hand at the line.

Stott saluted the crowd on passing the post, having claimed his first top-level win since being appointed number one jockey for owners Amo Racing earlier this year.

Murray said: “He was very impressive. We had him here 10 days ago doing a piece of work and Robson (Aguiar) got off him and said to me ‘this is the best horse I’ve ever ridden’. He was certainly correct in that one.

“He’s a serious horse. That’s three runs and three wins here, he’s the horse of a lifetime.

“I’d say it’ll be the National Stakes now and I don’t think he’ll have any problem stepping up to seven (furlongs).

“He would prefer an ease in the ground, but he has won on good ground. The ground today would be a bit easier than the last day. He was very impressive in his maiden here on heavy ground, but it’s not an issue for him as he’s won on quick ground as well.

“It’s unbelievable and it’s hard to explain it. Robson is a master at picking horses at the sales.”

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