Atlantic Coast turned in a performance that was classy and brave in equal measure when the narrow winner of the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
The Kodiac colt had made a striking impression when the winner of his debut at the Curragh for owner-breeder Al Shira'aa Farms and trainer Joseph O'Brien in August, and having run third in the Group 3 Champions Juvenile Stakes on his next start, progressed again on Saturday to score by the narrowest of margins from Bright Stripes, with the pair nearly six lengths clear of the third.
"We are after opening up the ground a bit now and I thought he was spinning a bit for the first furlong," said jockey Declan McDonogh. "I was planning to sit second or third but was happy to come back and let him get comfortable.
"I followed Andy Oliver's horse (Bright Stripes) and it took a while to wear him down. He was never really enjoying the conditions today but his will to win was good.
"I think you'll see this horse in a better light on good to soft summer ground.
"I thought turning in I'd win easy but he hated conditions and was also day-dreaming a bit which is probably a good thing as he'll probably get a bit of distance next year.
"I'd say he’ll get a stiff mile and could stay ten furlongs down the line."
Atlantic Coast was bred by Al Shira'aa out of Liwa Palace, a Group 3-placed Oasis Dream granddaughter of Fillies Mile heroine Aqaarid.
He becomes the 93rd stakes winner for Kodiac and his second of the Killavullan Stakes after Glounthaune two years ago.
His win came on the same day that classy Kodiac 3yo Rogue Lightning sold for £1 million at the inaugural Goffs Qipco Champions Day Sale. A Listed winner and fifth in the Prix de l'Abbaye for Tom Clover, the gelding will now carry the colours of Wathnan Racing after selling to Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock.