By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know Siskin and Peaceful won the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas respectively behind closed doors at the Curragh over the weekend. You’ve probably seen the races – but here’s some other stuff you might like to know.
What’s going on?
Royal Ascot possible for Peaceful – and Love
After landing the Irish 1,000 Guineas for the ninth time with Peaceful, Aidan O’Brien suggested the filly may turn out again seven days later for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot – where she could be joined by Classic-winning stablemate Love.
“If she came out of it well you’d have to look at it, if the ground was nice there,” said O’Brien, speaking on RacingTV.
“We thought some of these fillies could back up in it,” he added. “When the other filly went and did that [Love] we thought this was a very high-class filly as well.
“The two of them were possibles for the Coronation, obviously it’s not ideal that it’s coming up so quick but it’s a big help that the ground is nice. They shouldn’t have had too hard a race so we’ll see how they are and what the lads want to do on Monday or Tuesday.”
Sussex Stakes target for Siskin
Unbeaten Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Siskin will not be asked to turn out again quickly at Royal Ascot, with trainer Ger Lyons favouring Glorious Goodwood.
“We’ll probably go to Goodwood next for the Sussex,” he explained. “I want to keep Colin [Keane] on him and hopefully the 14 days (quarantine) will be gone by then. We are definitely skipping Ascot. We’ll have a chat about it, but that was the plan providing he was good enough today.
“I know he gets the mile and I wouldn’t draw a line through 10 furlongs at the moment.”
The Siskin partnership of Ger Lyons and Colin Keane were both recording their first Classic success. Owner Khalid Abdullah had previously won the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Kingman (2014).
Peaceful was Aidan O’Brien’s ninth Irish 1,000 Guineas winner and jockey Seamie Heffernan’s fourth. They teamed up for a four-timer on Saturday’s card at the Curragh including all three Group contests.
The O’Brien family were responsible for the first four home in the fillies’ Classic, as Peaceful (trained by Aidan) prevailed from Fancy Blue (Donnacha), So Wonderful (Aidan) and New York Girl (Joseph).
Team tactics in 2,000
Ger Lyons told the Racing Post he thought 2-1 favourite Siskin was facing a “football team” with no fewer than six of the 11 runners representing Ballydoyle.
With Siskin boxed in two furlongs out, it looked a prescient assessment. “We knew this was going to happen, that if any reason we didn’t go forward we were going to be in a dangerous predicament,” Lyons told RacingTV.
“What makes the good lads great and the good horses better than the ordinary horses, they’re able to get themselves out of them scenarios and that’s what both of them did today.
Big kudos for Colin Keane …
Lyons was effusive in his praise for Siskin’s rider, the 2017 Irish champion jockey. “Colin is the best there is at the minute,” he said. “He’s only a kid and he’s going to keep improving. Colin has some nerve for a young kid – he’s a huge talent for our yard.”
… but stewards warn jockey to take care
For all that Siskin was easily the winner on merit, Colin Keane had to force a way out in the straight.
Unsurprisingly, the stewards had a close look into possible interference when the winner was manoeuvred out to deliver his challenge. While the result wasn’t changed, the stewards’ report said they “advised CT Keane to ride with more care”.
And there’s more. Seamie Heffernan was handed a two-day careless-riding ban for causing interference on third-placed Lope Y Fernandez and tightening up a couple of his rivals on his inner.
Oaks: Peaceful is second favourite
The Irish 1,000 Guineas winner is 5-1 for the Investec Oaks with Ladbrokes, who make Love their 6-4 favourite. “We always thought she’d stay a lot further than a mile,” said O’Brien. “Epsom has to be a possible, the lads will decide, but it has to be a possible for all those fillies.”
Albigna didn’t like fast ground
Speaking to the Racing Post, trainer Jessica Harrington’s daughter Kate said hot favourite Albigna hadn’t appreciated underfoot conditions. “Shane [Foley] felt she just didn’t handle the quick ground,” she said. “He said she got away with it at Santa Anita, but she couldn’t get away with it twice.”
Galileo breaks all-time G1 record
Peaceful was her sire Galileo’s 85th individual G1 winner – which means the legendary Coolmore stallion has now produced more horses to have won at least a single Group or Grade race than any other sire in history. He had been tied with Danehill on 84 since Magic Wand’s G1 win in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington in November 2019.
Shall we talk about it?
Ger Lyons (trainer, Siskin): “He’s a very easy horse to train and no question he’s the best I’ve trained. He’s push button. I said to Colin, ride him like the best horse you’ve ever ridden, ’cos he is the best horse you’ve ever ridden and that’s what he did.
“Full credit to Colin Keane. You don’t get a Guineas handed to you and they both stood up when it was needed. If there was a kink in that horse then he wasn’t going to go through that gap.
“The horse is good. He’s a Group 1 winner at two, he’s now a Group 1 winner at three. We knew he’d be better on fast ground. In the last month, we were very confident he’d get the trip.
“I think social distancing was made for me, typical that I win a first Classic when there’s no crowds but sometimes that’s when I’m at my happiest.”
Colin Keane (jockey, Siskin): “It’s a dream come true to ride my first Classic winner, especially for my boss. He has been my main supporter for a long time and it means a lot to repay him, especially in these colours. We haven’t had Prince Abdullah in the yard very long and to get a horse of that calibre, to be able to go on and do that, it’s just a dream come true.”
Aidan O’Brien (trainer, Peaceful): “Donnacha loved her in Thurles last year and then she went to Newmarket and couldn’t walk a yard in the heavy ground, but still kept fighting and wasn’t beaten far at the line. That’s the sign of a really good filly, she just wouldn’t lie down.
“She’s obviously very good. She’s a lovely filly, she always was. We always thought a lot of her and she was working lovely. She’s very uncomplicated, handles fast ground.
“We knew he had nice fillies. They are Galileo fillies and we are just so lucky to have them. They are beautifully-bred, big, rangy, scopey fillies and they get better and better.”
Seamie Heffernan (jockey, Peaceful): ”I was very impressed – her homework has been solid. I did fancy her, but I fancy a lot of horses and they don’t win. Some horses work way better than what they do at the track but she done what she’d showed us at home.
“I was comfortable and then four down I was gradually stepping up the pace, whatever had to come and get me had to make up three lengths. It’s great that we’re racing and it’s great that these horses get the chance to run and improve themselves. She could be anything.”
• Find out more about Irish racing at the Horse Racing Ireland website