08/13/2007 12:00AM

Saoirse Abu upsets in Phoenix


Saoirse Abu sprung a 25-1 filly surprise in the $408,000 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, denying the 1-2 favorite, Henrythenavigator, with a come-again one-length victory in the European season's first Group 1 race for 2-year-olds.

Fitted for the first time with blinkers by trainer Jim Bolger, Saoirse Abu, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Mr. Greeley, was headed by Henrythenavigator at the eighth pole but rallied under Kevin Manning to lead again at the sixteenth pole. Another filly, Elletelle, was third, 1 3/4 lengths farther back as soft-to-heavy ground slowed the winning time to 1:18.80 for the six furlongs.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who was seeking his ninth Phoenix Stakes victory in the last 10 years, blamed the going for the defeat of Henrythenavigator, who had previously won the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

O'Brien had some consolation when his 4-5 Eagle Mountain took the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths from Alexander Tango, but in the seven-furlong Group 2 Debutante Stakes for juvenile fillies, his 9-10 favorite Listen went down by a neck to the 12-1 Dermot Weld-trained Campfire Glow