Cougar Mountain wins Joel Stakes for O’Brien
Cougar Mountain registered his first success for 13 months with a strong performance in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket.
Ryan Moore made a shrewd move just before halfway in the mile contest when he brought the 15-2 shot from the rear to track the pacesetting Gifted Master.
That appeared to catch the other riders napping as Moore asked Aidan O'Brien's five-year-old to go and hit the front a furlong out.
The pair held a handy advantage over the rest of the pack and Cougar Mountain was able to assert and score by three and a quarter lengths.
Gifted Master stuck on for second, with Nathra making late progress for third place.
Moore said: "He's ran some very good races (this season) and ran some very good races last year. He's performed very well.
"He moved beautifully. It was a funny race, but he always felt like he was going to go and win.
"It went well for him and he thoroughly deserved it."
Cougar Mountain was last seen finishing sixth in the seven-furlong Park Stakes at Doncaster a fortnight ago.
Coolmore's UK representative Kevin Buckley said: "We came here hopeful. We knew he'd come out of his race in Doncaster in good form.
"The key to him is he likes this good to firm ground, which we've been in search of, and personally I think he's probably better over the mile.
"He's always been knocking on the door and been there or thereabouts, so we're very happy.
"We're going to have to go in search of that ground again and we might have a look at the QEII on Champions Day, if the ground was going to be in any way lively.
"Alternatively, we could look at going over to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
"He's a bit of a character, but a likeable rogue."
Hugo Palmer was pleased with the performance of Gifted Master.
He said: "That was a blinding run. The horse absolutely adores this track and William (Buick) felt that a mile is his trip, which is what I've felt all along.
"He's in the Challenge Stakes in two weeks' time and we might have a go at it, provided he's OK.
"The long-term target is the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night. I don't know if he will go on dirt, but the way he runs, he shouldn't have a problem with sand getting kicked in his face."
John Gosden's Nathra was the 5-2 favourite on her first start since finishing down the field in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
"I'm perfectly happy with her. She got left behind and it's not a day where you want to get too far back on this track," said the Clarehaven handler.
"Frankie (Dettori) felt he followed the wrong horse into the race.
"It was her first run back after a holiday and she's not had a hard race.
"She's had a good blow, she's in some nice races, but she's a superior filly with cut in the ground.
"We'll be looking at some of them (entries), as long as there's cut."
Gosden enjoyed a double earlier on the card thanks to Laugh Aloud and Journey, while Spain Burg was a surprise winner of the Group Two Shadwell Rockfel Stakes.
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