Little Big Bear (No Nay Never) winning the Gr.1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh

No Nay Never Colt A Class Above In Phoenix Stakes

Little Big Bear (2c No Nay Never - Adventure Seeker, by Bering) could hardly have been more impressive when demolishing his rivals in a red-hot renewal of the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

An impressive maiden winner in May, the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt won the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes next time out, before drawing clear in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes. The son of No Nay Never was one of four Group winners to line up for Saturday’s feature, aiming to join an honour roll that includes such stars as Eva Luna, Danehill Dancer, Holy Roman Emperor, Johannesburg and Mastercraftsman.

Making virtually all of the running under Ryan Moore, Little Big Bear was pushed along approaching the final furlong and soon stormed clear. Ridden out, he scored by an impressive seven lengths, as July Stakes winner Persian Force chased him home in second.

Speaking after the race, Aidan O’Brien revealed, “Ryan said when he let him go it was all over. He’s a big, powerful, strong horse. He cruises and quickens.”

Comparing Little Big Bear to his 16 previous winners of the Phoenix Stakes, O’Brien commented, “From day one we thought he was a bit special. I’m not sure we ever had one to do that in this race. It was a deep field.”

Little Big Bear has been quoted as short as 4/1 for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, but has “plenty of options’ before then, as O’Brien said. “He can go to the Morny, the Nunthorpe, I don’t think he’s short of pace in any way and he’s strong and mature. He could go to the Middle Park or the Dewhurst. You wouldn’t imagine seven furlongs would be any problem.”

Owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Westerberg, Little Big Bear was bought as a yearling for €320,000. Bred by Camas Park Stud and Summerhill, he hails from No Nay Never’s most exciting crop to date, having been bred off the back of his champion first season sire title.

His latest juveniles also include dual Group winners Blackbeard (No Nay Never) and Meditate (No Nay Never), as well as Group 3 Molecomb Stakes heroine Trillium (No Nay Never).