Don’t say you weren’t put on notice! The
layers are definitely going to have to reconsider their odds THEY OFFER Aidan
Howard’s horses on the Flat at the moment and on Friday, we signposted his
prodigious strike rate on the level.
Within hours, Lady Jane Wilde had improved
it further, making light of her inexperience to win the Irish Stallion Farms
Maiden impressively on debut at Headquarters and give Howard his fifth winner
from his previous seven representatives on the Flat going back to the middle of
It isn’t a run that could keep going and
Enter The Red and Thefaithfulindian did not figure subsequently but it
illustrates once again the Curragh conditioner’s obvious talents.
He will have been pleased too with
Drumcliff’s reappearance in the Joe Cooney Memorial Hurdle at Kilbeggan on
Saturday. It was the JP McManus-owned gelding’s first run under his stewardship
and a first racecourse appearance since falling when travelling very well in
the 2018 Galway Plate.
Drumcliff moved well here too and will
undoubtedly improve significantly for the exertions of finishing fourth after
such a long lay-off, 13 ½ lengths shy of facile victor Westland Row, who was piloted
by Denis O’Regan for owner Caren Walsh and trainer Gordon Elliott.
Ryan gets it right
John Ryan is renowned for campaigning his
charges regularly due to their supreme fitness and durability. Still, one wondered
about his enduring optimism when Summer Hill pitched up in the Trackars
Homecare Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick yesterday, having been pulled up in
Kilbeggan the day before.
When you spend so much time with horses
though, you know what they like and you learn their moods. It was evident to
Ryan that Summer Hill did not take to Kilbeggan and we can say with a fair
degree of certainty that the six-year-old son of Scorpion will not be turning
up there again.
He certainly enjoys Downpatrick though and
in trademark fashion for many of the Ryan representatives, took up the running
when the pace was not to Hugh Morgan’s liking, gradually pulling clear to win
by a mammoth 17 lengths.
Morgan was taking over from Liam Quinlan,
who had done much of a schooling work on Summer Hill and partnered him the
previous day but was unavailable due to illness.
Ryan made the decision to run after giving
Summer Hill a canter and a pop over a hurdle in the morning. He liked what he
saw and the rest is history.
Maiden domestic G1 for Lyons
The trajectory of Ger Lyons’s career and
the manner in which he has moved towards the summit of the Flat training ranks
in Ireland is a salutary lesson to any young handler choosing a career in
A journeyman jump jockey in England, Lyons
returned to train in Ireland after his retirement and while originally focusing
on the National Hunt sector he knew so well – he conditioned three graded
winners, including the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup with the Ruby Walsh-ridden
Big-And-Bold – soon turned his hand to the level, as a more viable means of
running an operation on a sound business footing.
He did this through a model of buying
horses he felt were undervalued, winning races with them and selling them at a
profit. Doing this, he was able to increase the quality of his string
incrementally. As his judgement in talent-spotting and ability to train kept
paying off, the numbers of winners increased and Lyons built a state-of-the-art
training facility in Glenburnie in his native Meath.
When Johnny Murtagh booted Lightening Pearl
to victory in the Cheveley Park Stakes eight years ago, it was a maiden Group 1
but breaking through in Ireland took longer. In the meantime, he provided the
foundation for his stable jockey, Colin Keane’s championship-winning campaign
Juddmonte boss Khalid Abdullah was suitably
impressed and started sending some blue bloods Lyons’s way in the last two
years and on Friday, Lyons repaid the faith when Siskin dealt impressively with
strong opposition and the soft underground conditions to bag the Keeneland
Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
It was a first domestic Group 1 winner at
last for Lyons and a first on home soil too for Keane, who had recorded his
only previous top-tier triumph on Laganore, in the Premio Lydia Tesio in Italy
for Tony Martin in 2017.