War Command bounces back with Futurity win
Report: Curragh, Saturday
Galileo European Breeders Fund Futurity Stakes (Group 2) 7f, 2yo
THE big question going into the Futurity was did War Command merely blot his copybook in the Phoenix Stakes, or did his bubble burst?
Dropped in class in the Futurity, he went a long way to answering just that. The authoritative nature of his success, under minimal urging, suggested the Phoenix was more of an aberration than a sign of things to come.
With the impression he created when running out a six-length winner of the Coventry at Royal Ascot it was a mighty big bubble that appeared to have popped as quickly as it had developed.
War Command, made the ante-post 2,000 Guineas favourite after the Coventry, drifted out to 16-1 for Classic glory after disappointing behind Sudirman and Big Time on his Group 1 bow.
Yet his waltz in the Futurity helped War Command re-establish his position towards the head of the market as the 10-1 second favourite behind Kingman with Coral.
And his trainer Aidan O'Brien belives he will stay a mile in future. "I'd say he'd stay further," he said. "He has plenty of speed but I'd imagine he'd have no problem with a mile."
Aidan O'Brien: delightedPICTURE: Getty Images
Before Guineas can be contested War Command has a juvenile campaign to complete and a rematch with Sudirman could be on the cards, with O'Brien nominating the National Stakes and a step back into Group 1 company as a possible next target.
On the performance itself, O'Brien added: "We're delighted with that. We gave him a good break after Ascot and perhaps he was not sharp enough for the Phoenix, he was lacklustre in the middle of the race and never got going until the race was over.
"Friendship went a nice even pace and Joseph wanted to take his time with him. He was very happy the way he picked up and he said he got there very easy and he was very relaxed going to the line.
"The quickness was there that we saw at Ascot and that's what we were looking for, so we're delighted."
War Command was settled in fourth of five as Friendship cut out the early fractions, opening up on the field before being reeled in by his more illustrious stablemate.
The Dermot Weld-trained Mustajeeb took second, with Ger Lyon's gelding Exogenesis in third.