GER Lyons scooped the first big prize of the Irish Flat season at Naas – but not with the horse punters were expecting.
His 8-1 second string Lemista upstaged the well-punted Even So (5-6f) to win the Group 3 Park Express Stakes in gutsy fashion.
The daughter of Raven’s Pass was well-positioned under Chris Hayes, and she was sent for home around 2f out.
Even So tried her best to eat into her stablemate’s advantage, while Dermot Weld’s Hamariyna, under a welter 10st 2lb, was letting down with a strong run on the near-side.
But Lemista turned them away to win by three quarters of a length, giving Hayes a double on the day following an earlier success on In From The Cold in the €50,000 7f handicap.
Assitant trainer Shane Lyons said: “We had to throw her into that race with the way the ground is as we know she wants a mile-and-a-half and you need a horse with stamina for that ground.
“We’re delighted, she won her maiden by five lengths so you can’t be bad if that happens.
“Chris said she’d appreciate better ground to be able to use her long stride. Stepping up trip I think she is an exciting filly.
“She could be aimed at the Oaks. We never thought she’d be a Guineas filly, trip-wise.
“Since February onwards we’ve been very happy and we’re just delighted she’s gone and done it. The other filly (Even So) has run a cracker too.”
Regarding the current policy of racing behind closed doors, Lyons added: “The Government is doing a sterling job, we’re 100 percent behind them and top marks to them.
“The restrictions are no way an annoyance to us. There are greater things in the world to worry about and we’ll do what we are asked to do, no problem.
“Full marks to all the authorities as they are playing a blinder.”
One for the notebook…
3.30 Naas – Elusive King
The Ken Condon-trained son of Elusive Pimpernel caught the eye when fourth in the big handicap at Naas.
He made up plenty of ground from off the pace down the wide outside without cover, but he couldn’t match the turn of foot of the eventual winner who was delivered late.
It’s possible he needed the run on his reappearance, but this was an encouraging return from the lightly-raced three-year-old. He should stay a mile.
Punters fingers were also burnt when the 8-15 jolly Sir Dragonet was turned over in the Listed Devoy Stakes.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt, who won the Chester Vase before finishing fifth in the Derby last season, folded like a cheap suit when challenged by Numerian, who strode clear to win comfortably on the run-in.
Representing winning trainer Joseph O’Brien, Brendan Powell said: “It was a nice performance, he did it well.
“Declan said he was a little bit on it early on, but they quickened up a long way out and he just sat and waited. He stays well and he’s tough. He seems to have improved again and he’s a fine big horse.
“I wouldn’t have said it was his ideal ground, but he galloped away and seems to go on most ground. It was a nice performance first time out and you’d think he can only improve from it.
“I think he’ll improve in every way and hopefully he could turn into a nice group horse. He looks the finished article this year compared to last year.”