Afonso de Sousa (2c Henrythenavigator x Mien, by Nureyev) , a son of exciting first season sire Henrythenavigator, created a strong impression when annihilating seven rivals over six furlongs at Leopardstown in Ireland on Thursday.
A half-brother to Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I Preakness Stakes winner Big Brown, Afonso de Sousa was sent off odds-on favourite for his first start on good ground and duly obliged in dominant fashion, by a remarkable nine lengths.
The Racing Post offered this assessment of the win; ‘There was always a strong possibility that Afonso de Sousa, being by Henrythenavigator, would improve when he encountered better ground and he looked a different animal here to what we had seen previously. He was bounced out in front, settled beautifully at the head of affairs and quickened up instantly when asked to early in the home straight. He was clear throughout the final furlong and won as easily as the winning distance suggests. He is yet another Ballydoyle bullet that can be fired at the top juvenile races on this evidence’.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has big plans in mind for the exciting youngster, who was shortened to 20-1 in the betting for next year’s Group I 2,000 Guineas in the wake of this resounding win.
“The better ground made all the difference as Henrythenavigator hated soft ground. The G1 Phoenix Stakes could be a possible target for him now,” he said.
Afonso de Sousa is the sixth winner from the first crop of champion miler Henrythenavigator, who’s first Australian progeny are two-year-olds of the 2012/13 season.
Henrythenavigator will stand the 2012 season at Coolmore Australia at a fee of $22,000 incl. GST.