Sunday 18 February 2018

Lyons hoping 'Funk' can cope with testing terrain at Killarney

Trainer Ger Lyons. Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE
Trainer Ger Lyons. Photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

Johnny Ward

Ger Lyons admits ground concerns for Psychedelic Funk in today's feature Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes at Killarney.

This week's Festival in the Kingdom used to take place at Tralee, which will be closed ten years when the Roses descend on the town next August - though it still hosts point-to-points, keeping a glimmer of hope extant that racing could return there. Conditions would have been testing at either venue this evening, but Lyons is hopeful that the Choisir-bred can cope.

"I would be concerned about horrible ground but it's the right race for him if he's the horse I think he is. Three-year-olds have a good record in this race so I'm very hopeful," he said.

Psychedelic Funk was campaigned essentially as a sprinter, until a Naas victory last time that was a revelation. If he copes with conditions he can win.

Aidan O'Brien won the race honouring his Ballydoyle predecessor and namesake five years in succession at the turn of the last decade, his ally here Pocketfullofdreams. She has a chance and is a fine ride for Michael Hussey to pick up, with the operation's main jockeys at York.

With a card like this, punters must presume that trainers are generally hopeful about horses handling the ground, with "heavy" in the going description at declaration time. Kew Gardens is unproven on it, but may take the opener for Aidan and Donnacha O'Brien.

Pat Smullen can also close the gap on Psychedelic Funk's rider Colin Keane by taking the Pitchsupplies.ie Maiden aboard boss Dermot Weld's Aljunood. He seems to have little to beat, though he now wears a hood and faces horrible ground.

Concerns

Conditions hold no fear to top weight Aussie Valentine in the Celtic Steps Handicap but preference is for Ado McGuinness's Beau Satchel, despite concerns that he failed to fire on two occasions when strongly fancied at Galway.

Gavin Cromwell has a well-drawn runner in Dovil's Duel in the Diarmuid Cronin Electric Apprentice Handicap, with Galway rider Evan Daly in the plate. John Murphy is back among the winners and traditionally does well at Killarney so Best Not Argue is interesting in the Easy Clean Limited Handicap.

The finale is compelling, Joseph O'Brien's Bhutan and Billy Lee narrowly preferred to Abyssinian and Donnacha. He is proven on heavy.

Irish Independent

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