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Siskin soars to deliver maiden Classic triumph for Lyons/Keane tandem

Vatican City finished second in the Curragh.
Jun 12th 2020, 7:49 PM 3,383 4

colin-keane-onboard-siskin-comes-home-to-win-ahead-of-seamus-heffernan-onboard-lope-y-fernandez Colin Keane onboard Siskin comes home to win ahead of Seamus Heffernan onboard Lope Y Fernandez. Source: Caroline Norris/INPHO

2-1 FAVOURITE SISKIN overcame a troubled passage at the Curragh to justify the hype and place two new names on the Tattersalls 2000 Guineas roll of honour apart from his own.

Owner Khalid Abdullah was victorious six years ago with Kingman but it was a first Classic success for Meath trainer Ger Lyons and his stable jockey Colin Keane.

The duo have made significant strides since Lyons placed his faith in the nascent pilot as a teenager. Keane has delivered on countless occasions since and did so on the biggest occasion of all but it was not without its drama.

Fort Myers and Michael Hussey took them on their way but there wasn’t much pace and entering the last quarter of a mile, Keane found himself penned in behind a wall of six horses with disaster looming.

The 25-year-old former champion remained unruffled and when a chink of light presented himself, angled to his left.

Siskin needed to be courageous to accept the invitation to propel himself through the marginal gap and he was but by now, Seamie Heffernan had set sail for home on Lope Y Fernandez. 

The pair were defenceless against the jet-heeled Siskin however, whose Group 1-winning speed over six furlongs as a juvenile remained supersonic inside the final 100 yards of the mile journey. Vatican City stayed on to overtake his Balldoyle stablemate to take the runner-up slot.

Lyons shared his plaudits for horse and jockey.

“I remember Johnny Murtagh used to ride plenty for me and I would leg him up, and always had faith I was in good hands, and I have the same feeling with Colin” reasoned the smiling Glenburnie Stables handler.

“We knew this was going to happen, that if any reason we didn’t go forward we were going to be in a dangerous predicament.

“What makes the good lads great and the good horses better than the ordinary horses, they’re able to get themselves out of them scenarios and that’s what both of them did today.

“The horse is good. He’s a Group 1 winner at two, he’s now a Group 1 winner at three. We knew he’d be better on fast ground. In the last month, we were very confident he’d get the trip.

“He’s been a very easy horse to train. He’s push button. The team have been fantastic through the lockdown.

“I said to Colin, ride him like the best horse you’ve ever ridden, ‘cos he is the best horse you’ve ever ridden and that’s what he did.” 

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Ado McGuinness continues to thrive when the major handicap pots are on offer and he was at it again as the improving six-year-old Bowerman (5/1) bolted to a dominant victory in the Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire, courtesy of a judicious ride by Ronan Whelan.

The €44,250 first prize will be very welcome for the Total Recall Racing Club, a group of 17 prison officers who have enjoyed many good days with the Lusk-based McGuinness.

Having endured a slightly frustrating opening week, Joseph O’Brien got off the mark with a double shared with Shane Crosse, who like the trainer, is a two-time champion apprentice.

The highlight was Crossfirehurricane (7/1) scoring in the Group 3 Coolmore Ten Sovereigns Gallinule Stakes, a Group 3 for three-year-olds to remain unbeaten from just four starts. Crosse timed his run to perfection, his partner relishing the extra quarter mile to reel in Gold Maze comfortably. 

Galileo Chrome (4/1) got the Carriganóg Racing crew under way when just eclipsing the brave King Of The Throne in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for three-year-old colts and geldings.

Although only having a head in hand, with Timourid a further head behind King Of The Throne in third, Galileo Chrome would have been unlucky, having had been hampered at a crucial juncture as Billy Lee attempted to slip the field.

The son of Australia, who O’Brien rode to dual Derby success six years ago, showed a good attitude to pick up when asked to do so by Crosse and looks a potentially exciting prospect.

There was another very impressive two-year-old winner for Joseph’s father Aidan in the Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Maiden for two-year-old colts and geldings, the strapping Admiral Nelson (5/1) making light of missing the break to record an authoritative victory over stablemate Merchants Quay, having travelled powerfully for Wayne Lordan.

Local trainer Ken Condon claimed the Equine MediRecord Handicap with new recruit Maid Of Spirit (25/1). Chris Hayes got a fine tune from the five-year-old mare who is actually in foal to Invincible Spirit for owner-breeder Con Harrington, and she prevailed in another thrilling head-bobber to hold off Ardhoomey by a neck, with Fridtjof Nansen another neck in arrears.

The Anglesea Lodge Equine Hospital Handicap went to another Curragh conditioner Johnny Murtagh, who is no stranger to success at headquarters. Danny Sheehy put the contest to bed quickly to deliver Champers Elysees (14/1) on the wide outside just under two furlongs from home and the Fitzwilliam Racing-owned three-year-old filly quickly only had to be kept up to her work to hold off the fast-finishing Bright Idea by half a length. 

The card concluded with another pattern race, the Group 2 Coolmore Magna Grecia Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes for older horses that included Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song and Latrobe, an Irish Derby hero in 2018.

They had no answer though to the deadly duo of Jessica Harrington-Shane Foley, who maintained their stunning week with another pattern success via Leo De Fury (6/1). It was a ninth winner of the week for Foley and an eighth for Harrington ahead of Albigna’s tilt for Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas glory.

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Daragh Ó'Conchúir

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