Qatar: Sovereign Debt holds off Cougar to take prize

Sovereign Debt beats Cougar Mountain

Sovereign Debt holds off the late thrust of Cougar Mountain

 PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) 

 By Paul Crabtree in Doha 7:32PM 24 FEB 2017 

SOVEREIGN DEBT got his head in front when it counted to make it a dream trip to Qatar for the David Nicholls team in Friday’s feature race at Doha.

As feared, a wide draw in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup proved too much for Aidan O’Brien’s favourite Cougar Mountain, settled at the back of the field by Donnacha O’Brien and flying at the finish to be beaten half a length in a thrilling finish.

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Nicholls’ wife and assistant, Alex Greaves, said of the Lady O’Reilly-owned eight-year-old: “The horse deserved that. He’s been so consistent and has been placed so many times, never beaten far, so it’s really nice for him to win one. He’s a star.

“He was beaten a nose in a race at Wolverhampton last March and we’ll go back there again next to see if he can go one better. After that it will be the All-Weather Championships again at Lingfield, where he was also beaten into second last year.”

Jockey Andrew Mullen, whose record on the horse now reads two wins and a second from three rides, added: “The little bit of rain they had earlier in the week helped him. He’s galloped all the way to the line and won it well.”

Cougar best of the rest

Coolmore representative Kevin Buckley said: “Cougar Mountain ran a great race considering his draw. We knew it was going to be tough but I’m very happy with that. Donnacha rode a very good race.”

Local champion Harry Bentley, who rode a treble earlier on the card, was a further half-length back in third on Roman Legend for Jassim Ghazali.

Britain’s other challenger in the local Group 2, the Richard Hannon-trained Tupi, finished a disappointing 15th of 16 under Sean Levey.

 
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