Sunday 19 January 2020

Doyle hopeful Spanish Tenor can strike winning note in Killavullan

Ger Lyons is hoping for Territory gained. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Ger Lyons is hoping for Territory gained. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Ashley Iveson

Trainer Tim Doyle is keeping his fingers crossed Spanish Tenor can continue his progression in the Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown today.

The Lope De Vega colt performed with plenty of promise when fifth on his Roscommon debut during the summer and having raised his game to fill the runner-up spot on his next start at the Curragh, it was no surprise to see him make it third time lucky at Cork last week.

He faces a big step up in class on his return to action just eight days later, but Doyle - best known for his handling of high-class chaser Mallowney - is hopeful his exciting youngster can prove up to the task.

"He came out of the race the other day well, he seems in good form and there's nothing else left for him, so we decided we'd take our chance," said the Co Tipperary-based trainer. "He's always worked like a good horse, but you never know until you run them.

"I wouldn't have many Flat horses, maybe 10 or 12, and he would be the best Flat horse I've trained.

"He's progressed with every run and was good the other day, so we'll see what he can do on Sunday. My only worry would be the ground. I wouldn't want it to dry out too much."

Territory made a good impression when winning on his debut at Naas last month and is set to have his final start for Ger Lyons after being sold to race abroad.

Lyons said: "He goes to the Killavullan and he's in new ownership. He's been sold to go to Hong Kong.

"I think he runs in my wife's colours at the minute and then goes to Hong Kong. He wouldn't want it very soft so if it did come up very soft he probably wouldn't go."

The only filly in the nine-strong field is the Dermot Weld-trained Making Light.

The daughter of Tamayuz bolted up on her second start at Limerick, but connections are hopeful rather than confident ahead of her latest assignment.

Last week's Naas scorer Spirit Of Valor is one of three runners for Aidan O'Brien along with Taj Mahal and Pipes Of Peace.

Holistic Approach, which was making his debut when triumphing at the Curragh a fortnight ago, is also in the field for Jim Bolger and Godolphin.

The John Oxx-trained Born To Be and John Murphy's Confrontational complete the line-up.

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