Steel Bull repaid Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan’s faith and adventure with victory in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood.
Well-backed as the 2-1 favourite following his Naas maiden victory just a week ago, the Colin Keane-ridden Clodovil colt had to wait behind horses for quite some time but arrived on the scene approaching the final furlong and quickly moved past the pace-setting Ben Macdui.
He was then not hard-pressed to hold on to his advantage, giving O’Callaghan his highest-profile British success to date in this Group Three sprint for juveniles.
Ben Macdui stayed on to finish a 16-1 runner-up, with outsider Internationaldream taking third a length and a half further back.
Keane said: “Looking at the replay of his maiden, he won it very well – and talking to Michael beforehand, he was very confident that he had a lot of speed.
“He showed a very good turn of foot today. He puts his head down and tries very hard, and he’s a horse that is going to keep progressing.
“I’d imagine he would get an extra furlong, because he settles. I suppose the track today was an unknown, but he handled it very well.”
O’Callaghan said: “He did it very well, and we’re delighted with him.
“We knew he was a very nice colt. He didn’t get a clear passage today, but he quickened up like a smart one and got a very good ride.
“He only won his maiden a week ago, so there should be more improvement in him, and I think he’d stay six furlongs as he settles so well.”
O’Callaghan will take his time before deciding future targets – but may yet allow Steel Bull to take on his elders in the Coolmore Nunthorpe at York on August 21.
He added: “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see what we come up with – I hadn’t even thought about the Nunthorpe, to be honest.
“We’d have to look at the cost of supplementing, and the supplementary date and things, but we might have to look at it.
“There’s the Phoenix Stakes next weekend, but that would be three runs in three weeks, which might be asking a bit much of him.”
Steel Bull currently races in the trainer’s colours, but O’Callaghan admits he is open to selling the youngster if the price is right.
He said: “We’ll see what happens. There was a bit of interest before today, but not enough to prise him away for us.
“Hopefully that might change after today, but either way we’re very happy to have him.”