Ger Lyons has shot at two winners in Royal Ascot

Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio favoured while Dermot Weld is banking on three horses

Ger Lyons

reckons he has “two good bullets to fire” when he targets a potentially perfect Royal Ascot start on Tuesday.

If Endless Drama has a Group 1 opportunity in Ascot’s traditional kick-off, the Queen Anne Stakes, it is the clash between Ireland’s top juveniles, Caravaggio and Psychedelic Funk, in the following Coventry Stakes which is being eagerly anticipated by many race fans.

Both colts are unbeaten in two starts and although Aidan O’Brien’s Caravaggio was heavily supported in some ante-post betting lists earlier this week, Lyons believes the Ballydoyle team know they will have a fight on their hands.

“Aidan, I know, loves my horse and that’s going to be some clash,” the in-form Co Meath-based trainer said. “They’re both very smart, the smartest two-year-olds we’ve seen so far. And I wouldn’t swap mine.”

Psychedelic Funk has won both his starts at Naas, winning by half a dozen lengths on the second of them where he confirmed his versatility in terms of ground.

Weather conditions

In contrast his trainer will be keeping a close eye on weather conditions on the run-in to Tuesday, keeping his fingers crossed the going doesn’t get too quick for the giant Endless Drama who finished third on his return to action in the Lockinge Stakes.

“There are showers forecast for Sunday and Monday but if they don’t hit Ascot, then I could have a call to make,” Lyons said of the four-year-old who is a general 8-1 shot in ante-post lists.

“The ambition with Endless Drama is to win a Group 1 because I believe he’s a Group 1 horse.

“You would imagine he will improve for the run at Newbury against Belardo but we’ll have to see if that improvement is enough given the other horses in the race. But we look to have two good bullets to fire on Tuesday.”

Lyons’s sole Royal Ascot winner to date was Elletelle who landed the Queen Mary Stakes in 2007, and he could have a third hope later in the week if Lustrous Light is supplemented into the King Edward VII Stakes.

Another top Irish trainer looking at a maximum of three runners next week is Dermot Weld.

Tanaza will fly the Group 1 flag for the Derby-winning team of Weld, Pat Smullen and the Aga Khan in Friday's Coronation Stakes, while Ebediyn will take his chance in the two-mile Queens Vase. Silver Concorde is set to tackle the Ascot Stakes.

Successful day

Weld’s Shamreen is one of four three-year-olds lining up in Sunday’s Group 3 Coral Munster Oaks at Cork who remain in Thursday’s Ribblesdale at Ascot. In 2011 Banimpire won at Cork before scoring in the Ribblesdale just four days later.

Sunday’s €75,000 feature will be very valuable in itself for whoever wins it and while Shamreen will have to step up again in terms of form, the mile and a half trip plus a little ease in the ground after recent rain should suit the daughter of Dubawi.

Shamreen could be the focal point of another successful day for Smullen who teams up with his old rival Johnny Murtagh for More Than Munny in a sprint handicap.

Smullen also rides the English raider Spirit Quartz in the Listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes but while this one is rated to come out on top he is up against an in-form Lyons runner.

Ardhoomey has not always been easy to train but is in the form of his life right now and that factor can trump the ratings while Hurricane Sky can exploit a low weight in the Cork Derby after a nice run at Leopardstown last week.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column

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