By Jon Lees
GB: The Lir Jet, the only horse to have beaten Breeders’ Cup winner Golden Pal on turf, is leaving trainer Michael Bell to continue his career in the US with Brendan Walsh.
The three-year-old gelding, owned by Qatar Racing and the RacehorseClub, was due to contest the Hungerford Stakes (Aug 14) but was ruled out by a minor setback.
Connections have now decided to send him to Walsh’s Kentucky barn and have nominated the G2 Franklin Simpson Stakes at Kentucky Downs on September 11 as his first target.
RacehorseClub executive Freddy Tylicki said “After looking through the racing calendar for the rest of the season in England it has been decided that more suitable races are available in America with great prize-money on offer. He will be trained by Brendan Walsh in Kentucky who is doing great over there.
“Both RacehorseClub and Qatar Racing Limited have had long chats with Michael Bell and together we feel the move is the best way forward for the horse. Michael has done a marvellous job with The Lir Jet with the highlight winning the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. RacehorseClub will continue to support Michael as and when the right horse comes along.
“We feel it is an exciting opportunity for our members in The Lir Jet with the possibility of having a Breeders Cup runner. He ran very well at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile last year, so it’ll be great if Brendan can get him to Del Mar.”
The Lir Jet has a record of two wins from ten starts, the highlight coming at Royal Ascot last year when he won the G2 Norfolk Stakes in which he beat Golden Pal by a neck.
He finished second in the G1 Phoenix Stakes and travelled to the US to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in which he finished seventh. His best run this year was a third place in the G3 Greenham Stakes.