Siskin rises to Phoenix challenge to claim Group One honours

Ger Lyons’ charge takes Curragh feature

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Siskin maintained his unbeaten record as he registered a first Group One success in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Colin Keane, Siskin was unbeaten in his three previous starts, including when seeing off the reopposing Monarch Of Egypt in the Railway Stakes on his most recent outing.

Sent off the 10-11 favourite, Keane adopted a patient approach as Royal Lytham set the early pace in the six-furlong heat before making his challenge inside the final two furlongs.

Monarch Of Egypt made Siskin battle hard though, pulling alongside him inside the final furlong, but Siskin found a little extra for pressure to win by three-quarters of a length, with Monarch Of Egypt narrowing the two-and-a-half-length verdict from the Railway.

Lyons, saddling his first Group One winner in Ireland, said: “My confidence was shot all week with the rain, purely because we knew he was better on a faster gallop. His forte is that burst of speed that he still showed there. I think he’s a very smart horse.

“I’m delighted to be training for Prince Khalid (Abdullah), and as I’ve said, we can’t train Group One horses unless we get Group One horses. Thankfully, in my second season training for this operation, I’m after getting a Group One horse.

“What a horse to have – he’s so push button. I was worrying all week listening to every drop of rain falling, but the horse just got on with it and did his job.”

Siskin is now a 10-1 shot for next year’s 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power, while the Aidan O’Brien-trained Monarch Of Egypt is 14-1 from 25s.

Lyons added: “Talk of Guineas at this stage is very premature as we are racing over six furlongs in August. Today was to tell us do we step up to seven for the Dewhurst or the National Stakes or do we go Middle Park route. Did we learn anything trip-wise? I don’t know.

“I just learned that this is one good, tough horse. We’ll get together and make a plan with him.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for the owner, said: “I’m delighted and he’s a homebred, which makes it even more important.

“He’s a horse with a great mind and he took all the preliminaries very well. The way he travelled in the race showed he’s got class.”

Siskin rises to Phoenix challenge to claim Group One honours
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