08/07/2016 1:47PM

Caravaggio's unbeaten streak at four after win in Ireland


Caravaggio extended his unbeaten streak to four races with a commanding win in Sunday’s $277,425 Phoenix Stakes for 2-year-olds at The Curragh in Ireland, trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 15th career win in the race.

The Phoenix Stakes was one of three Group 1 races in Europe on Sunday. Signs of Blessing won the $421,600 Prix Maurice de Gheest for sprinters at Deauville, France, a race marred by a fatal breakdown by Gold-Fun, the favorite. Serienholde won the $554,850 German Oaks in Dussdeldorf in a 6-1 upset.

Caravaggio has been quoted as low as 5-2 with British bookmakers for the 2017 English 2000 Guineas next May after his easy win at odds of 1-8 in the Phoenix Stakes. Ridden by Seamie Heffernan, Caravaggio was rated in fourth early and took the lead 3/16 of a mile from home.

A Kentucky-bred by Scat Daddy, Caravaggio won by four lengths over another Kentucky-bred, Courage Under Fire. By War Front, Courage Under Fire is trained by O’Brien and is a maiden after four races.

O’Brien won the Phoenix Stakes for the first time in 1998. Caravaggio races for Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier.

Signs of Blessing (9-1) led throughout the Prix Maurice de Gheest at 6 1/2 furlongs on a straightaway course under jockey Stephane Pasquier, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of Donjuan Triumphant in a field of 15. Gold-Fun, the 5-2 favorite, was not in contention when he broke down badly.

Gold-Fun was a multiple-stakes winner from Hong Kong racing in Europe this summer.

Signs of Blessing, a 5-year-old Irish-bred gelding by Invincible Spirit, races for Isabelle Corbani and trainer Francois Rohaut. The race was delayed briefly after Jimmy Two Times broke through the gate before the start. A 7-1 shot, Jimmy Two Times eventually finished third.

The Prix Maurice de Gheest was the first Group 1 win for Signs of Blessing, who was third in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Serienholde won the German Oaks at 1 3/8 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies for her major stakes win. Ridden by Eduardo Pedroza, Seriendholde (6-1) stalked the pace before moving into contention in the final quarter-mile. She took the lead in the final sixteenth and won by a half-length over Sarandia.

Architecture, second in the English Oaks in June and in the Irish Oaks on July 16, was third as the even-money favorite.

Serienholde, by Soldier Hollow, is trained by Andreas Wohler for owner and breeder Gestut Wittekindshof.

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