Sunday 11 December 2016

Keane shines on Ainippe as he helps Lyons to Curragh brace

Thomas Kelly

Published 08/06/2015 | 02:30

Runner-up Parish Hall (L) appears to try to take a bit out of eventual winner Postulation (Pat Smullen) in the Silver Stakes at the Curragh
Runner-up Parish Hall (L) appears to try to take a bit out of eventual winner Postulation (Pat Smullen) in the Silver Stakes at the Curragh

Ger Lyons will look next for a Group Two opportunity for Ainippe after she came out on top in a thrilling finish to the TRM Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh.

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Shane Foley looked to have made a winning move when he took Newsletter into the lead after James Tate's Blhadawa had taken them along.

However, Colin Keane had other ideas and sent Ainippe (9/4 joint favourite) in pursuit. Step by step she clawed back the deficit and got up for a half-length verdict.

"I thought she was going to be an unlucky loser," said Lyons. "She's not big, but she's all heart. She has plenty of speed and loved the good ground. We've always felt that she will get seven furlongs. She's a good, honest filly.

"We took the view that we didn't want to take on Anthem Alexander in the Lacken and I don't think she's good enough for the Commonwealth Cup. Hopefully we can find a Group Two for her.

"That was the plan this year to win a Group Three with her, and we'll have to sit down and make a plan now for the rest of the year."

Brace

Lyons, Keane and owners Qatar Racing secured a brace with Game Set Dash (9/2) which wore down 50/1 shot Here For The Craic to take the 12-furlong maiden by half a length.

Postulation - the only three-year-old in the field - took advantage of the 16lb he received from Parish Hall to win the TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes.

Tackling a mile and a quarter for the first time, the Dermot Weld-trained gelding (7/1) gained the upper hand close home to bag the Listed contest by a neck.

As Postulation and Jim Bolger's 9/10 favourite Parish Hall fought out the finish, there was a moment of drama as the pair approached the line with Parish Hall looking like he attempted to take a bite out of his main rival.

Weld said: "It was a lovely ride by Pat, and his biggest worry was when the other horse moved towards him near the line!

"He's been a model of consistency and has never been out of the first three. That's his ideal trip and, with that win under his belt, we might travel with him now."

Smullen added: "We had a plan going out to follow Kevin (Manning, on Parish Hall) all the way, have one go and thankfully it paid off."

Smullen completed a 43/1 double when he pounced on the Johnny Murtagh-trained Duca Valentinois (9/2) to snatch the ten-furlong handicap by a short head from Pullman Brown.

Murtagh said: "We are thinking of going for a Premier Handicap now, and the syndicate would like a day out at Galway so we might head for the big handicap there (Topaz Mile). Lightly-raced three-year-olds have a good record in the race."

Rockaway Valley (6/4 favourite) ran out a most impressive winner of the opening juvenile maiden over six furlongs.

The Jessica Harrington-trained youngster had shown plenty of ability when second on his debut to Aidan O'Brien's Air Force Blue and easily went one better as Foley's mount disposed of Juliette Fair by four-and-a-quarter lengths.

"He was good and came on a lot from his first run," said Harrington.

"He has plenty of fancy entries, and will probably come back here for the Railway Stakes. He's also in the National Stakes."

Another market leader struck in the next race as Eddie Lynam's well-backed Fort Del Oro (7/4) took the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition Maiden with some authority by four-and-a-quarter lengths from Creggs Pipe under Billy Lee.

"She did it well. We like her and think she might be good. She did that well today after a good first run," said Lynam.

The six-furlong sprint saw a patient ride from apprentice Shane Kelly yield dividends as he weaved a path through on the Michael O'Callaghan-trained Bainne (7/1) to beat Battleroftheboyne by two lengths.

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