Cougar pounces at Naas

Last Updated: 25/06/14 7:57pm

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Aidan O'Brien: Naas winner

Aidan O'Brien: Naas winner

Sky Bet

Aidan O'Brien's Cougar Mountain made an impressive start to his career with victory in the six-furlong New BBQ Format At Naas Maiden.

The Fastnet Rock colt holds a number of big-race entries, including the Darley July Cup, Qipco Sussex Stakes and Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, and was given a no-nonsense ride by Joseph O'Brien, taking over at the head of affairs just before the two-furlong pole after Edamame had cut out the early fractions.

Sent off the 8-11 favourite, the highly-regarded newcomer responded takingly, quickening smartly and powering away from the 87-rated Monsieur Power in the final furlong to score by five and a half lengths.

The winner had been due to make his racecourse bow in the opening race of the 2013 Flat season at the Curragh, but was withdrawn with a stone bruise.

O'Brien senior was absent, but the winning rider said: "He's a horse we've always really liked for fast ground.

"We always thought he'd have no problem with five, six or seven (furlongs) and he might get a mile.

"We thought last year he was our best two-year-old and he has a chance of being a Group One horse.

"He was quite green. I gave him a slap down the shoulder and got there too soon so I had to stay going and pushed him out hands and heels.

"It's always frustrating when you have a good one at home standing in a box. He never had any major problems, but when he got near a run he had little setbacks.

"He was coughing for a while and had a stone bruise as a two-year-old that took him a while to get over.

"In the second half of last year we said we'd have him for next year and we hoped to have him out earlier than we did.

"I think he could be a very good horse, whether that's as a sprinter or a miler, I don't know.

"He's going to improve an awful lot from here. He's only been outside Ballydoyle once when he went to the Curragh two weeks ago for a canter."

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