Lyons readies stable star Capella Sansevero for Group One tilt
Co Meath handler targets Middle Park Stakes to gild richly rewarding season with Group One success
Ger Lyons: fourth in the trainer’s table in Ireland with 45 winners worth just shy of €1 million. Photograph: Inpho
Next week’s Middle Park Stakes can’t come quick enough for Ger Lyons as the Co Meath trainer reckons Capella Sansevero can put a Group One cherry on top of an already richly rewarding season.
Lyons sits fourth in the trainer’s table in Ireland with 45 winners worth just shy of €1 million. But it is the six furlongs over Newmarket’s famous Rowley Mile that could again provide him with a career highlight.
Lightening Pearl provided Lyons with a maiden Group One success in the 2011 Cheveley Park Stakes and three years later the horse he reckons the best he’s trained is gearing up for a similar top-flight task over the same course and distance.
“Touch wood, it can’t come quick enough. He’s in great form and is a rock solid horse. It looks like Richard Hannon is going to run Ivawood which hardly helps us but these Group One’s are never easy. My horse is as good as I’ve had through my hands. He’ll love the stiff six furlongs and won’t mind a bit of juice in the ground. I’d love if the race was this week,” said Lyons.
Capella Sansevero made his debut in
April and won three in a row before losing his unbeaten record when runner-up to The Wow Signal in the Coventry Stakes, a defeat that perhaps had some of the sting removed due to having been bought for £1.3 million by Qatar Racing on the eve of Royal Ascot.
“He’s been a star for us and the one mistake was running him in the Railway Stakes after Ascot,” said Lyons.
“He’s such a straightforward horse that until you run him you don’t know. And he’d done everything right after Ascot. But then he ran well in the Phoenix Stakes, which he perhaps should have won because he was coming back at them close home. And then he won the Round Tower when he again was pulling up a bit in front,” he added.
Lightening Pearl won the Group Three Round Tower en route to her major Newmarket success and a similar result this time would perfectly justify the faith the trainer has always had in Capella Sansevero.
“We picked him and bought him and I’ve always had great faith in this horse,” he said. “Next year we can step him up to seven furlongs and then look at the Guineas but first I just want to get him to the Middle Park in the same shape he is now.”
Lyons’s fellow Co Meath based trainer Eddie Lynam has already had a vintage Group One season and could attempt to secure more top-flight glory on Friday week with his May Hill winner Agnes Stewart in the Fillies Mile.
Agnes Stewart will have to be supplemented for the mile contest on Future Champions Day but a decision on that isn’t likely until the weekend when indications as to the likely ground conditions at British racing’s headquarters could become clearer.
“That is a possibility [Newmarket] but we will keep an eye on the weather,” said Lynam
. “We have to decide this weekend whether we’re going to supplement or not, so we’ll see.”
Lynam added that his sprint stars Slade Power and Sole Power will be on their international travels, with the former heading to Australia for a career finale before retiring to stud. Sole Power was out of the money in last Sunday’s Prix de l’Abbaye however Lynam confirmed he is now on track to return to Hong Kong in December.
“He’s fine. He had no race [in the Abbaye] and a very easy time, so we’ll aim for Hong Kong now,” he said.
Co Tipperary-based trainer Joe Murphy may have sold one exciting two-year-old, Vert De Grece, to Hong Kong but another, Shepherd’s Purse, has a number of pattern race options open to him.
“There’s the Killavullan Stakes in Leopardstown [October 25th]. There’s a race in Newbury [Horris Hill Stakes] on the same day and there is a race at Maisons-Laffitte as well [Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte on November 4th]. We will see how he is . . . and decide where to go,” said Murphy.