Sussex Stakes: Ger Lyons already eyeing Breeders’ Cup 2021 with Classic hero Siskin

Horse Racing Siskin trained by Ger Lyons
Siskin: puts unbeaten record on line in Qatar Sussex Stakes. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post (for Horse Racing Ireland)

By Jon Lees

Ireland: Ger Lyons wants Goodwood-bound Siskin to stay in training at four for an “all-guns” assault on the major mile races climaxing at the 2021 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.

The unbeaten Irish 2,000 Guineas winner faces his biggest test yet at Goodwood next week against Newmarket Guineas hero Kameko and leading older milers in the G1 Qatar Sussex Stakes.

Fresh from winning his second Classic of the year with Even So in the Irish Oaks, County Meath trainer Lyons will pay his first-ever visit to the Sussex track for a race that will go a long way to establishing the pecking order in this year’s mile division.

Beyond the Sussex Stakes he has made no other plans – other than trying to convince owner Khalid Abdullah to keep the colt in training as a four-year-old.

“I put a speculative entry in the Irish Champion just to hold the entry because it is an early-closing race,” said Lyons. “The Breeders’ Cup has been mentioned but I will get Wednesday out of the way and I have enough brains in my camp to help me decide where we go next.

“Ultimately I would love to see this horse stay in training at four,” he went on. “It won’t be my call but I would like to do a Breeders’ Cup with him at four rather than three. I really don’t want to travel him in that direction in the current climate.

“I would like to do what we are doing at the moment, go into a lovely winter like we did last year and look forward to a real all-guns four-year-old career culminating in a possible Breeders’ Cup attempt.”

Lyons respects all Siskin’s Goodwood opponents, likely to include Kameko, Queen Anne Stakes winner Circus Maximus and Mohaather, impressive winner of the G2 Summer Mile last time. It will be only Siskin’s second start of the year, which the trainer hopes could be an advantage.

“Obviously you can’t ignore an English Classic winner,” said Lyons. “On ratings my horse is fourth or fifth. Our horse hasn’t gone above 116. Is that good enough to win the Sussex? Circus Maximus was 117 last year and was beaten by a 122 horse [Too Darn Hot]. So I have to improve to win. 

“I’m just hoping that the big races have left a mark on some of those horses because we are the fresher horse. That’s where I am looking for my edge.”

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