The Lir Jet flies late to deny Golden Pal in Norfolk thriller

Winner proving a smart purchase for Qatar Racing.

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The Lir Jet backed up his scintillating debut when collaring American raider Golden Pal in the final strides of the Norfolk Stakes.

Michael Bell’s juvenile broke the all-age track record on his debut at Yarmouth and was subsequently bought by Qatar Racing.

He appeared to face an uphill battle entering the final furlong, however, as Wesley Ward looked sure to add to his Royal Ascot tally, as Golden Pal had broken smartly under Andrea Atzeni and soon had most of the field in trouble.

The Lir Jet was on the outside of the favourite Eye Of Heaven, but Frankie Dettori looked in trouble at halfway on the market leader and Oisin Murphy’s mount soon emerged as the only danger to Golden Pal.

Murphy began to chase down the leader, but it was only in the last 100 yards that The Lir Jet (9-2) began to make ground hand over fist, eventually getting up by a neck.

Bell said: “He’s one of the fastest two-year-olds I’ve had – he’s all speed.

“During the race I was a bit worried when the leader went so far clear, but Oisin (Murphy) obviously thought he had it under control and the horse battled.

“He’s a very inexperienced horse. He’s only run the once and has never really had to dig in before because when he won (at Yarmouth) he won on the bridle. He’s learnt how to race today and I think you’ll see a better performance next time, hopefully.

“My son found him and then Sheikh Fahad was watching him on the telly at Yarmouth. He asked if he was for sale and the rest is history.”

He added: “He’s won a Group Two now, so if he runs in another Group Two he’d carry a penalty. I’d be inclined to aim him at something like the Prix Morny, but we’ll speak to Sheikh Fahad and David Redvers and come up with a plan.

“The Nunthorpe would be another option, but all the balls will go up in the air. When you start winning Group races as a two-year-old you’re looking at stallion potential, so there’s all sorts of things that need to be considered, but if Battaash was to go for the Nunthorpe I’d say he should probably be avoided.

“The Commonwealth Cup would be an obvious target for next year, when the crowds will be here.”

He added: “It’s brilliant for us to have a winner for a high-profile owner. Every trainer needs good horses and big winners, especially for a big operation like Qatar.”

Nick Bell said: “When you buy speed you hope they will be an Ascot two-year-old and he came with a good reputation from Ireland. I sourced him from Robson Aguiar who does very well from buying cheap horses.

“He said he was good and he won at Yarmouth and came and did what he did today. It was very sporting of him (Sheikh Fahad) to buy him as if it didn’t work out it would have looked like money down the drain, but he is now going to have a stallion to stand at Tweenhills and that is great.”

The Lir Jet flies late to deny Golden Pal in Norfolk thriller
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