Cougar Mountain (3c Fastnet Rock-Descant, by Nureyev) has always been held in the highest regard by connections and the son of Fastnet Rock showed just why when winning on his debut at Naas on Wednesday night.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge was sent off a well-backed odds-on favourite for the six-furlong maiden and never gave his supporters a moment’s worry when coming home five and a half lengths clear of the field.
Bookmakers were taken by the performance, quoting the once-raced colt at just 20/1 for the G1 July Cup, and jockey Joseph O’Brien was also impressed.
“He’s a horse we’ve always really liked for fast ground,” the rider told PA Sport. “We always thought he’d have no problem with five, six or seven (furlongs) and he might get a mile. We thought last year he was our best two-year-old and he has a chance of being a Group 1 horse.
“He was quite green. I gave him a slap down the shoulder and got there too soon so I had to stay going and pushed him out hands and heels.
“It’s always frustrating when you have a good one at home standing in a box. He never had any major problems, but when he got near a run he had little setbacks. He was coughing for a while and had a stone bruise as a two-year-old that took him a while to get over. In the second half of last year we said we’d have him for next year and we hoped to have him out earlier than we did. I think he could be a very good horse, whether that’s as a sprinter or a miler, I don’t know.
“He’s going to improve an awful lot from here. He’s only been outside Ballydoyle once when he went to the Curragh two weeks ago for a canter.”