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Lyons and Keane finish the weekend in style with big-race brace


Trainer Ger Lyons. Photo: PA Wire

Trainer Ger Lyons. Photo: PA Wire


Trainer Ger Lyons. Photo: PA Wire

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane capped a career-defining weekend to combine for a big-race double at Leopardstown yesterday.

Fresh from Irish 2,000 Guineas success on Friday with the brilliant Siskin - which was "bucking and kicking the next day" - the Meath duo took the spoils at the Foxrock track with a 44.5/1 Listed brace.

Nickajack Cave (12/1) relished the 1m6f trip to come home strongest in the Listed Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes with the four-year-old likely to be aimed at York's Ebor Handicap, a race Lyons and Keane won last year with Mustajeer.

Assistant trainer Shane Lyons said: "Colin was brilliant on him. He was drawn wide and said he'd drop him in as he always felt there was going to be pace in the race and to let him enjoy himself.

"Colin said he felt like a really good horse and this horse and Bucky Larson have been companions of Siskin so he deserves this. The way he's won there the plan could be to go for the Ebor. He got that trip well."

Victory for the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Heliac (5/2 favourite) was not straightforward, though, with Keane forced to pull out all of the stops on the Champs Elysees filly to fend off Jack Davison's Fresnel (11/1) by a neck.

"It was important to get black type and now that she's got it so quick, we can enjoy the rest of the season. She needed every yard and will get further," Shane Lyons said.

Hat-trick Former Irish champion jockey Keane went one better to complete a 590.5/1 hat-trick with handicap victory aboard his father Gerard Keane's Athlumney Hall (12/1), while Aidan O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan also maintained their hot streak. Napa Valley (11/8 favourite) looked very smart when dominating his rivals to make all on debut with Heffernan purring about the potential possessed by the Galileo colt.

"The vibes were that he was showing a bit and I was more than happy with him. He has a very good pedigree and I knew that he'd have a kick. He's a fine big horse and he couldn't have done it any easier. I'll be looking for the ride on him again!" Heffernan quipped.

Meanwhile, the Irish action continues at Roscommon and Fairyhouse today and all eyes will be on O'Brien's newcomer Giorgio Vasari at the Meath track in the opening maiden (1.0).

Air Force Blue sired his first Irish winner with his first runner last week (Chief Little Hawk) and Heffernan's mount should make a similar impression, while Drummer could outrun his odds in the Meath Handicap (4.05) for in-form trainer Denis Hogan.

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