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Siskin can overcome might of O'Brien forces and give Lyons first Irish Classic


Ger Lyons, Colin Keane and groom Dan McGraine with Siskin after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) last year

Ger Lyons, Colin Keane and groom Dan McGraine with Siskin after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) last year

Ger Lyons, Colin Keane and groom Dan McGraine with Siskin after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) last year

The scale of the task facing Ger Lyons and Siskin at the Curragh in this evening's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (6.40) quickly becomes apparent when numbers and trends are compared with the all-conquering Aidan O'Brien.

Lyons is chasing a first Irish Classic and just his second Group One on Irish soil whereas the Ballydoyle maestro has 330 top-level triumphs worldwide and is aiming to complete a dozen victories in the colts' Classic.

Lyons relies on his impressive Phoenix Stakes winner whereas O'Brien trains more than half of the 11-runner field and none of his sextet can be dismissed with the teak tough Armory his best chance on paper.

It will be an extraordinary feat were Siskin to beat the odds but the son of First Defence has already proved to be out of the ordinary and lived up to his stellar billing to remain unbeaten during his juvenile career with four wins over six furlongs.

Fast ground will be right up his alley and the Meath trainer allayed any stamina doubts insisting that he'd be "a lot happier to see him go a mile than shorter" on what is one of the biggest days of the Glenburnie supremo's training career.

This will be his biggest test to date but Colin Keane's mount can pass with flying colours en route to securing another landmark achievement for the former Irish champion jockey and his boss.

The Curragh Classic has had three winners trained in England during the last decade but with coronavirus restrictions in place, the field is Irish-trained with O'Brien's team sure to push Siskin to the limit.

Pádraig Beggy picked up yet another lucrative prize on a Ballydoyle outsider when landing the Derrinstown Derby Trial earlier this week and Dundalk maiden winner Vatican City is far from a no-hoper.

Phoenix Stakes third Royal Lytham is another live outsider, as is stablemate Lope Y Fernandez, while Mick Halford's Sinawann - second to Epsom Derby hopeful Mogul on his last start - may prove best outside of the O'Brien contingent.

The final race of the day is a belter as Search For A Song puts her lofty reputation on the line in the Group Two Mooresbridge Stakes (7.45).

Dermot Weld's charge handed Kew Gardens - which subsequently ended the unbeaten run of staying king Stradivarius - a decisive beating in last year's Irish St Leger under an enterprising ride from Chris Hayes.

This is a big drop in trip but the Galileo filly won over 10 furlongs on her debut last May and with just five runs under her belt, she is open to all kinds of improvement under Oisín Orr.

The master of Rosewell House has given her time to mature and she can score again with Aidan O'Brien's Fleeting the most likely to lay down the gauntlet in a contest which O'Brien has won nine times in the last decade.

The daughter of Zoffany - rated just 2lbs lower than Search For A Song - is without a win in her last eight starts but she was just touched off in the Irish Oaks before going down by a neck in the Prix de l'Opera so her Group One form stands up to close scrutiny.

The main action of the evening will feature live on RTÉ television with the Irish Lincolnshire (7.15) as competitive as ever but Weld may be the one to follow with the lightly raced Bashiyr showing enough in his four starts to show that he can land a telling blow under Andrew Slattery.

The Group Three Gallinule Stakes (6.10) looks like a father-and-son battle with Joseph O'Brien's Listed winner Crossfirehurricane respected but the promising exploits of

Mythical at Group One level in his last run should see the elder O'Brien prevail with Seamie Heffernan in the plate.