Lyons and Keane bag big-race double at Leopardstown

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Nickajack Cave and Heliac added further gloss to a golden weekend for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane with Listed victories at Leopardstown.

The duo are still on a high from Siskin’s Irish 2,000 Guineas success on Friday evening and landed more big-race glory.

Nickajack Cave (12-1) won the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes having managed to get a run in before the shutdown, but that had come on heavy ground and he looked a different proposition back on a decent surface.

Settled at the rear by Keane, he looked to have plenty to do entering the straight as Twilight Payment hit the front.

Nickajack Cave began to eat up the ground, though, and with half a furlong to run he was always going to get there and went away to win by a length and a half.

Assistant trainer Shane Lyons said: “Colin was brilliant on him. He was drawn wide and said he’d drop him in as he always felt there was going to be pace in the race and he let him enjoy himself.

“For the first couple of furlongs he thought the ground was going to be a bit quick for him, but he warmed into it lovely. He latched on three furlongs out and Colin said he felt like a really good horse.

“This horse and Bucky Larson have been companions of Siskin, so he deserves this. The way he’s won there the plan could be to go to York for the Ebor. He’s after getting that trip well.”

Heliac came with a similar run down the outside with the 5-2 favourite getting up close home to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Noblesse Stakes.

Fresnal and Loveisthehigherlaw had been enjoying a ding-dong battle before the favourite pounced.

“It was important to get black type for her and now that she’s got it so quick we can enjoy the rest of the season,” said Shane Lyons.

“She needed every yard of that and will get further. She won the Red God (Handicap, at Dundalk) and we thought she was well handicapped after that knowing that she would want further, but obviously black type with her pedigree was so important.”

Keane rounded off his weekend in style, bagging a treble with victory for his father, Gerry, aboard Athlumney Hall (12-1) in the Leopardstown Handicap.

Napa Valley looks another potential star for Aidan O’Brien given how well he won the Leopardstown (C&G) Maiden on debut.

The 11-8 favourite won by three and a quarter lengths to continue Seamie Heffernan’s red-hot streak.

“The vibes were that he was showing a bit and I was more than happy with him,” said Heffernan.

“He has a very good pedigree and I knew that he’d have a kick. He’s a fine big horse and he couldn’t have done it any easier.”

Dermot Weld registered his first winner since the resumption when Eldama (2-1 favourite) created a big impression in winning the Leopardstown Fillies Maiden.

The trainer’s son, Kris, said: “She’s a nice filly. Our horses are a little bit behind because they are looking at the grass and saying that’s for eating and not necessarily for galloping on!

“The Curragh has been in drought since the last week of March so training them hasn’t been the easiest.

“She’s done well from two to three physically and we’ll try to get her black type.

“That was a mile today and I’d imagine a mile and a quarter wouldn’t be a problem as her half-sister Edelmira won the Give Thanks over a mile and a half in Cork.”

Lyons and Keane bag big-race double at Leopardstown
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