News that his Group 1 winner Siskin is to retire at the end of the year has fuelled Ger Lyons’ eagerness to send him to Keeneland for next month’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Juddmonte homebred was unbeaten at two-years-old and he signalled his star quality with a determined victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in June under Colin Keane.
He went off favourite on his next start in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood but could only manage third place behind the impressive winner Mohaather.
More recently, Siskin was a disappointing fourth in the Group 1 Prix Du Moulin at Longchamp last month, proving no match for Andre Fabre’s Persian King on soft ground.
With confirmation that the First Defence colt will be sent to stand at stud in Japan once his three-year-old campaign is over, Lyons has reignited the plan to go to the Breeders’ Cup.
“This year was about the Guineas, the Sussex, come back for a light campaign, maybe the Boomerang, have a look at the QEII (on British Champions Day at Ascot), ground depending, and then put him away for next year, but that’s been put on hold,” said Lyons.
“I didn’t want to send him as a three-year-old to a Breeders’ Cup, but he won’t be staying in training at four, so the Breeders’ Cup now becomes an option. At this moment in time, he’s being trained with that in mind.”
The Irish trainer has enjoyed a breakthrough season, with Siskin his first Classic winner, but Lyons admits the harsh realities of racing’s economy can be hard to handle.
“I thought when I’d get to the stage when I’m winning a Guineas or an Oaks that you’d see their careers out. We’ve got to where we are by selling our best horses, and here we are at the top table, still selling our best horses. Which is a little bit disappointing, frustrating, whatever, it’s demoralizing to say the least,” he said of the decision to send Siskin to stud.
American-based hopefuls Without Parole, Uni, Halladay and Beau Recall join fellow Europeans Lope Y Fernandez and One Master amongst the possible Breeders’ Cup Mile opponents at Keeneland on November 7th.
Lyons suggests all parties will need to be in agreement before a final decision is made and the ground conditions are set to be a leading factor.
“We’re allowed ‘go’ if we’re all happy with him, and that’s a decision (Juddmonte racing manager) Teddy (Grimthorpe) and I will make in the coming days,” he added.
“It’s been lovely fast ground [at Keeneland] of late, which would be perfect for him, but I wouldn’t like to see him over there on soft ground.”