Little Big Bear continues to rise up the ranks after an ultra-impressive win in last Saturday’s Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and is now the clear favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2023. However, before that the Aidan O’Brien-trained juvenile has got several options open to him this season, including an entry in this month’s Nunthorpe Stakes at the York Ebor Festival.
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Little Big Bear Romps To 7-Length Phoenix Stakes Victory
It was impressive stuff last Saturday at the Curragh as the Aidan O’Brien-trained LITTLE BIG BEAR powered home to land the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes by a remarkable 7 lengths.
Under jockey Ryan Moore, this exciting 2 year-old was always up with the pace and one-by-one fought off the challenges of Bradsell, who was sent off favourite, plus the Richard Hannon-trained Persian Force.
Run over 6f, the way he pulled clear of the field suggests the step up to a mile next season – and a possible tilt at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on Saturday 6th May 2023 – will be well within range. You can back Little Big Bear @ 5/1 with 888Sport for the 2023 2000 Guineas.
Kieren Fallon told the Racing Post “I think he looks like next year’s Guineas winner. It’s a long way away, but Aidan [O’Brien] is a master and knows exactly how to take them along. If he takes the George Washington route, you could have a very short-priced favourite for next year’s Guineas.”
Watch Little Big Bear’s 2022 Phoenix Stakes Romp Again
Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Has Won The 2000 Guineas 10 Times
Housed at the powerful Aidan O’Brien yard, Little Big Bear will have a trainer that’s won Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas 10 times in the past – most recently in 2019 with Magna Grecia.
If Little Big Bear takes the 2000 Guineas route next season in 2023 he’ll be looking to become the first Phoenix Stakes winner since George Washington (2006), who was also trained by Aidan O’Brien, to follow-up in the Newmarket Classic.
Aidan O’Brien’s 2,000 Guineas Winners – King of Kings (1998), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Footstepsinthesand (2005), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008), Camelot (2012), Gleneagles (2015), Churchill (2017), Saxon Warrior (2018), Magna Grecia (2019)
Little Big Bear Now Clear 2000 Guineas Favourite For 2023 Newmarket Race
The head of the betting for the 2023 Newmarket 2000 Guineas is dominated by the Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby stables.
All odds correct as of 10:00 BST on Mon 8 Aug and subject to change
Where Next For Little Big Bear?
After the easy Phoenix Stakes win, there are now many options for Little Big Bear – including hoping an entry in this month’s G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at the York Ebor Festival (19th Aug).
With that race run over 5f, Little Big Bear would be dropping back a furlong, plus also taking on the older horses for the first time – he’s currently @ 7/2 with 888Sport in the betting for the Nunthorpe Stakes.
However, with O’Brien still not totally sure where Little Big Bear’s next race will be, it’s very much ‘watch this space’ stuff at the moment. What they can be sure about though is that they’ve got a very exciting prospect to look forward to for the rest of the season and then into the Classic year of 2023.
Other Entries / Options For Little Big Bear
- Gimcrack Stakes (York, 19th Aug)
- Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes (Curragh, 20th Aug)
- Champagne Stakes (Doncaster, 10th Sept)
- Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Curragh, 11th Sept)
- Middle Park Stakes (Newmarket, 24th Sept)
- Dewhurst Stakes (Newmarket, 8th Oct)
O’Brien told Racing TV: “He’s a big, powerful, strong horse. He cruises and quickens.
“Before the race we had a bit of a scare with him when he came up here. He kicked a wall and the clip of the shoe went into his foot. He was a little bit tender when the shoe was put back on.
“It could have gone either way very easily, so it was a great call by John Halley and Lynn Hillyer to let him run.
“Ryan said when he let him go it was all over. He’d been progressing from every run. He ran here the last day with the view of going for this race.
“He loves good ground so he can show his speed. It was a very good race, but he has serious class. From day one we thought he was a bit special.
“At Ascot we thought he would get away with five (furlongs) even though we were happy going six with him.
He added: “He has a lot of options and the lads can decide what they want to do with him, they could go to the Morny with him, they could go to the Nunthorpe. I don’t think he’s short of pace in any way, he’s strong and he’s mature.
“He could go to the Middle Park or the Dewhurst.”
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