Toscanini shines at the Curragh

Air Force Blue's disappointing campaign continued in the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh.

Toscanini ridden by James Doyle at the Curragh

The vibes were strong for last year's champion juvenile, who flopped in the English and Irish Guineas before finishing 12th in the July Cup, and he went off the even-money favourite.

But he was slowly away and although he quickly made up ground to track the leaders, the response was minimal when Seamus Heffernan asked Aidan O'Brien's charge for an effort and he trailed home last.

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The Group Two prize went the way of Toscanini, who was always prominent in his bid to better last season's second.

Michael Halford's 5-1 chance was a willing partner for James Doyle and stuck his neck out to see off Eastern Impact by a length and a quarter.

Halford said: "He always had ability but only now has he fully grown up. He had his ground conditions today and that is his trip.

"He was a bit weak and immature and used to travel with such ease but didn't finish his races. We always thought he was a high-class horse.

"It was a great ride from James as he did terrific to get across from where he was."

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