Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 August 2019

Caravaggio glory for Justifier seals bumper weekend for Lyons and Keane

Jockey Colin Keane, left, and trainer Ger Lyons, after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh Racecourse, Kildare. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Jockey Colin Keane, left, and trainer Ger Lyons, after winning the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh Racecourse, Kildare. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane gained a second notable success in the space of a couple of days as Justifier got the better of Harpocrates in the Coolmore Caravaggio Stakes at Tipperary.

On Friday evening, Lyons and Keane combined for a first domestic Group One triumph with Siskin in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, beating Aidan O'Brien's Monarch Of Egypt.

This may have been at a lower level, but the Listed triumph was nevertheless significant, with Justifier (6/4) maintaining his own unbeaten record.

Brought wide off the bend by Keane in the extended seven-and-a-half-furlong affair, the Free Eagle colt showed plenty determination to fend off his more experienced rival, but he managed to do so by a length and a half.

Lyons' brother and assistant, Shane, said: "Colin said he is still green and handled the ground and will get a furlong extra, no problem. We do like him, we thought he had to run to 95 plus today to win and he did.

"It is five weeks to the Juvenile Stakes (at Leopardstown) on Champions Weekend, but we'll run wherever the race presents itself."

Gavin Cromwell celebrated an across-the-card double as Duchess Ravenwaves (4/1) won the finale to add to the earlier victory of Darver Star (5/1) at Downpatrick.

Meanwhile, there was a big success for Ken Condon in France as his Romanised claimed the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

A surprise winner of last year's Irish 2,000 Guineas, there were signs earlier this year he was coming back to something like his best when he was not beaten far in the Lockinge at Newbury and at Royal Ascot.

Dropped in class last time out for the Minstrel Stakes, he received the perfect confidence boost in that Group Two at the Curragh to prepare him for this Group One contest. Settled beautifully for Billy Lee as Vocal Music and Condon's Success Days put the pace to the mile showpiece, Romanised always looked to be going best.

Coronation Stakes winner Watch Me was behind Romanised for most of the way, but failed to pick up as Lee drew alongside Shaman before quickening in style to win well. Charlie Appleby's Line Of Duty flew late to grab third.

"I'm over the moon, I was delighted with him," said Condon. "There's nothing like winning a Classic, but I've been watching racing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and I've been very much aware of the history of this race. To get his name on the roll of honour means an awful lot."

Irish Independent

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