Mehmas' love affair with the prestigious July Stakes continued on Thursday as Persian Force justified odds-on favouritism to win well for Amo Racing and Richard Hannon.
The smashing winner of the Brocklesby Stakes on debut at Doncaster back in March, Persian Force had again impressed when the bloodless winner of a conditions race at Newbury before running a fine second in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Sent off the 1/2 favourite on Thursday, Persian Force was always travelling kindly for Rossa Ryan and quickened well when asked to kick clear for a length-and-a-half score.
In the process, not only did he emulate Mehmas, the 2016 winner of this race, but he became his sire's second consecutive winner following Lusail. Both were also trained by Richard Hannon.
The youngster is now a best-priced 10-1 for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, while he is now 33-1 for next season’s 2000 Guineas with Coral.
“I’m delighted that Rossa put the race to bed when he needed to and we deserved that," Hannon told Racing TV. "He’s done exactly the same as Mehmas in finishing second in the Coventry and then winning the July Stakes and this horse I do think will get seven furlongs. We don’t have to go there immediately but at the end of the year he will. His temperament is exemplary and he behaves as very good two-year-olds do and I’m sure a step up would benefit.
“We might look at the National Stakes in Ireland and the Prix Morny next. My dad rang me after the Coventry and said he’s a Guineas horse and I thought that was a little bit out of the blue but that was the first thing he said to me and he did get very well to the line in the Coventry. If a horse has a lot of speed he doesn’t want to do that but because he’s so sensible he gives himself every chance of getting that trip.
“He has always given me a tingle, especially when he was beaten in the Coventry! He made up for it today and got his just rewards and I’m sure he’s a Group One winner waiting to happen. He’s an ideal horse to make a sire, he’s a gorgeous looker and has everything that good horses do have.
“Amo have had shocking luck at Royal Ascot and had a lot of seconds. You can say ‘bad luck, bad luck’ but we went there to see if we had a good horse and those questions were answered at Royal Ascot. This fella is probably one of the best two year olds we’ve had in a long time.
“The Coventry is always the best race of the year for two year olds in my opinion, I know it comes up early but a lot of good horses have been second and third in that race and this year is no different. It’s always great form.
“I love how we started with him in March, we didn’t know what the point was in holding on to him, he looks great and he’s working great and he’s looked like that all his life.”
Rossa Ryan added: “It’s brilliant for Mr Hannon and all the team because we were unlucky at Ascot and we got repayment for the horse here. Going forward we have our black-type race under our belts now so a lot of the pressure is off, so it’s a job well done.
“He’s so straightforward and is a relaxed character, he takes you through the race and fills you with confidence. It was probably the smoothest run I’ve got in a Group race for a long time and it all fell into place today. A lot of credit has to go to the lads at home, I do the easy job and they put in all the hard work at home so I couldn’t be more grateful to the team.
“Richard is a master of two-year-olds and when this lad was building up to Royal Ascot there were talks that he was as good as Canford Cliffs – which were his words not mine – so I was getting excited. It’s great to have a horse with a proper engine underneath like he does, it’s a good feeling.”
From the third crop of his sire, Persian Force becomes the 18th stakes winner for Mehmas.
Persian Force was bred by Tom Lacy and is a brother to last season's high-class 2yo Gubbass - he was Mehmas' first 2yo winner of the season in 2021 and subsequently won the Weatherbys Super Sprint and ran placed in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. They are out of Vida Amorosa, a Lope De Vega relation to smart sprinter Garrus.
Persian Force was purchased by us for €75,000 from Ringfort Stud as a Goffs November Foal and resold through our draft at last year's Goffs Orby Sale for €225,000 to Peter and Ross Doyle.