Lyons could opt to take Medicine Jack higher
Joseph O’Brien may target Intricately at top-flight Newmarket race
Colin Keane on Medicine Jack (left) winning from Ryan Moore on Peace Envoy at the Curragh. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
It’s a major jump from being beaten in a Sales race up to Group 1 level, but Ger Lyons believes it could be worth asking Medicine Jack to make a top-flight leap into Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Already a Group 2 winner this season in the Railway Stakes, and third to Caravaggio in the Phoenix Stakes, Medicine Jack appeared to blot his copybook in the €300,000 Tattersalls Auction Race at the Curragh over “Champions Weekend” when finishing third as an 11-8 favourite.
Consequently he is a general 20-1 shot for this weekend’s Group 1 feature in Newmarket, with Godolphin’s impressive Gimcrack winner Blue Point generally topping ante-post lists ahead of Monday’s five-day stage.
Mehmas is also a likely Middle Park starter, while Intelligence Cross is a possible representative for Aidan O’Brien, although Caravaggio is still left in the race.
Lyons is keen to give Medicine Jack a shot at the race in the hope that the colt enjoys considerably better fortune than he did at the Curragh just over a week ago behind Orewa.
“In a field of 30 two-year-olds you’re always going to need luck and he had none. From where he was drawn it was always going to be difficult. But even with that, everywhere he went he got murdered.
“At one stage I thought he was almost a furlong down. He was definitely 20 lengths off them, and in the end to actually run as well as he did was remarkable. It was just annoying that at a Group track there was such a bias,” said the Meath trainer.
“Our plan always was to run in the Sales race and then go for the Middle Park, and if he’s alright that’s still the way I would think.”
Lyons memorably recorded a Group 1 victory with Lightening Pearl in the Cheveley Park Stakes five years ago, and could pitch Velveteen into the race against the American star Lady Aurelia on the same Newmarket card this Saturday.
Big step up
In contrast, another of Lyons’ two-year-old stars, Psychedelic Funk, could be dropped in grade after beating only one home in the National Stakes over seven furlongs.
“I saw nothing in that to encourage us to go to Newmarket. There were no excuses, so I think we’ll bring him back to six furlongs, let him jump, and see what happens. The Blenheim Stakes looks a race for him,” said Lyons.
Joseph O’Brien secured his first Group 1 as a trainer with Intricately’s 25-1 Moyglare Stud Stakes victory, and he is potentially targeting another top-flight Newmarket prize with the daughter of Fastnet Rock in next month’s Dubai Fillies Mile.
“I’d imagine she will have just the one more run this year. She’s in the Fillies Mile at Newmarket and more than likely that’s where she will go – though the Moyglare is a ‘win and you’re in’ for the Breeders Cup, so that might be the other option,” said the former champion jockey.
Intricately was a surprise winner for many over “Champions Weekend” but not to her trainer.
“We were fairly confident. You couldn’t say she was going to win, of course , but she was definitely going to give you a good run for your money,” O’Brien said.
“Both mentally and physically she has been improving all summer, and she’s bred to improve with time and racing. With that pedigree you’d hope she would make a three-year-old.”