Tag Archive for: Dr Zempf

Dr Zempf underlines Classic potential with Guineas Trial win

Dr Zempf put himself in line for a Classic tilt with victory in the Ballylinch Stud “Red Rocks” 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.

Always held in high regard by trainer Ger Lyons, the Dark Angel colt just missed out on a Group One in the Phoenix Stakes and while down the field on his final juvenile start in the Middle Park, he was only beaten less than three lengths.

Colin Keane was soon tracking Ryan Moore as Glounthaune took them along, and the well-backed 11-10 favourite hit the front a furlong and a half out.

The Acropolis finished strongly to get within half a length, but there was much to like about how the winner went about his business on his first try beyond six furlongs. Betfair and Paddy Power went 33-1 from 50s about his chance in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

Lyons said: “There should be plenty of improvement, there needs to be for where he is going.

“I’ll talk to Peter (Brant, owner) now and and see what he thinks. He got there sooner than he wanted to be and then he just parked, he just does enough.

“I don’t know how informative it was as a race, he should be winning and he probably should be winning it easier than that, but it’s job done.

“That’s what he tends to do at home as well, he just does enough. There should be plenty of improvement in him. Colin said he went for his girths at the two pole. We’ve left a good bit to work on, but he needs to improve.

“He’s still in the pot for the Guineas, if we have a Guineas colt it’s him.”

Colin Keane returns aboard Dr Zempf
Colin Keane returns aboard Dr Zempf (PA)

He added: “I’ll talk to Peter and we’ll take it from there. He has a run under his belt and we can go to Newmarket at the end of the month if we need to, but we’re a long way off a horse rated 120.”

“We’ll see how he comes out of this one. I didn’t expect to get this run into him this weekend, thinking it would be heavy ground and everything like that, so we are ahead of the game and have options.

“I personally think we need to improve to keep going down this route, but that’s what these trials are about.

“A mile is not a problem to him, he just doesn’t need to be left in front that quick, he’s one that wants to come late.

“Trials are good and he’s won, you can only beat what’s in front of you. We won’t be breaking out champagne or anything, but we’re happy that the first thing is done.”

Sacred Bridge out to shine on Pearl anniversary

It is 10 years since Lightening Pearl provided Ger Lyons with his first Group One victory in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes – and he has a strong chance of repeating the dose with Sacred Bridge.

The unbeaten filly is owned by the sponsors, and Lyons credits the late Khalid Abdullah with raising the quality in his yard in recent seasons, seeing it as a great compliment that he is now on their roster.

Having won the Irish Guineas for the team with Siskin last year, Lyons is holding on to the dream that Sacred Bridge may be another Classic contender, but first his sights are set on Saturday at Newmarket.

“I suppose they’d be similar, but Sacred Bridge would be more precocious, because I never had Lightening Pearl as a Cheveley Park horse,” he said.

“I had her as a miler – but the more we ran her, the faster she got.

“This filly has always just rocked up. I never went to the races cocky that she’d win. I thought she’d run well in her maiden but improve for the run. But the only time I got a ‘wow’ off her was the last day.

“The Ballyhane (sales race at Naas) was a good, tough performance, but was that a Group One performance? No. I kept expecting something to beat her but after the last day, I felt she deserved her place at the top table.

“I think the secret to her is fast ground, and the way she did it in the Round Tower was visually spectacular. Anything she had done before that, while I’m not knocking it, wasn’t.”

Should Sacred Bridge win, however, Lyons is unlikely to be involved directly in any of the celebrations because he believes he is of more use at home.

Ger Lyons is enjoying a great run of form
Ger Lyons is enjoying a great run of form (PA Wire)

“I don’t like going racing because I get more done at home,” he added.

“When you are there you are pulled this way and that, and I actually missed all the photographs (when Lightening Pearl won) afterwards. I just find it a lot of wasted time.

“At home with lots of runners, your mind is kept busy – but over there, your whole day is wasted on one run. It’s nice when they win, though.”

It took Lyons longer than expected to make the breakthrough at the top table, but he is well and truly there now, with Even So landing the Irish Oaks last year to add to Siskin’s Guineas.

He said: “In my head I was always going to be training Group One winners, and I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long. Then when it happened, I was telling myself not to get carried away because it took me long enough!

Lightening Pearl (yellow) winnign the Cheveley Park 10 years ago
Lightening Pearl (yellow) winning the Cheveley Park 10 years ago (Sean Dempsey/PA)

“This is why we do it. The Cheveley Park has been good to me, and I’d like to do it again. Group One horses are few and far between, so when you get one you cherish them.”

While all Sacred Bridge’s wins to date have been over five or six furlongs, Lyons hopes she could get further next season.

“I trained her sister Viadera, who is doing well in America, and this filly is bred to get a mile,” he said.

“She doesn’t show you this (speed) at home, she just goes through the motions. I’d like to think she’ll get the mile.

“The other theory is that when they are showing you this over six furlongs, why change it? We’ll change it when we need to, and we’ll know more on Saturday. She’ll hold entries in the Guineas but she’ll also be in the Commonwealth (Cup at Royal Ascot).

“I don’t know that she’ll get the mile. But I think she will and (jockey) Colin (Keane) is not negative either. Her attitude will help her get the trip – it’s a lovely, high-class problem to have.”

Ger Lyons with Siskin after winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas
Ger Lyons with Siskin after winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas (PA Wire)

The fact Lyons is producing Group One runners for Juddmonte is also giving him a huge sense of satisfaction.

“I can’t overstate what the connection with an outfit like that has on my business. It’s a huge pat on the back for Glenburnie (his County Meath yard) that they entrust us with their horses,” he said.

“When they send them they literally could be anything. It’s like waking up on Christmas morning when you are very young.

“Yes, you get ordinary horses too, but you also get horses like yesterday (Straight Answer) or Sacred Bridge and you have a chance with what you get to compete at the top table.

“I take it as a huge compliment, and it’s something I’m very proud of.”

Lyons will also be represented in Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes by Dr Zempf, who already has a Group One second to his name in the Phoenix Stakes.

“Dr Zempf is a lovely colt and he’s definitely our Guineas horse,” he said.

“I would much rather be going seven furlongs with him, but we’re erring on the side of weakness at the moment.

“Colin has always said to stick to six furlongs for the minute. I think it’s the six which has been getting him beat up to now. Colin did say he’d reverse the Railway (Stakes) form (with Go Bears Go), and he was right, (but) then we bumped into one in the Phoenix (Ebro River) which is grand.

“He’s still in the Dewhurst, and I would have loved to have gone National Stakes/Dewhurst, but Colin thinks he’s still on the weak side. I can’t wait for next year to step him up to seven.

“I know the two horses I’m sending are in the right races and will be competitive. Whether they are going to be good enough, they might not be on Saturday but they will be one day. They are two nice horses.”

Dr Zempf takes Railway test for Lyons team

Dr Zempf bids to follow in the hoofprints of trainer Ger Lyons’ former stable star Siskin by claiming top honours in the GAIN Railway Stakes at the Curragh.

Siskin was a brilliant winner of the Group Two contest in 2019 and went on to provide both Lyons and jockey Colin Keane with their first Classic success in last season’s Irish 2,000 Guineas.

While Dr Zempf has some way to go to scale those heights, he certainly looked a high-class prospect when making a winning start to his career over the Railway course and distance at the start of this month.

Keane, who also combined with Lyons to win the 2016 Railway Stakes with Medicine Jack, said: “He (Dr Zempf) looked nice on his first start – he was a good winner I thought on the day.

“He seems to be training well for the race. It looks a very good renewal, but hopefully he can give a good account of himself.

“Siskin had won his maiden and the Marble Hill en route to the Railway, whereas this horse has only had the one run.

“We’ll know where we stand after Saturday, I think.”

Fozzy Stack’s Castle Star has already won twice at the Curragh, most recently impressing in the Group Three Marble Hill Stakes.

Castle Star winning the Marble Hill Stakes
Castle Star winning the Marble Hill Stakes (Brian Lawless/PA)

Stack said: “It looks a strong renewal, but he’s got a nice draw (eight) and he seems in good order, so we’re hopeful of a good run.

“Hopefully he shows up. The ground won’t be as soft as it was in the Marble Hill, but I don’t see that being a problem for him.”

Aidan O’Brien has saddled 13 previous winners of the Railway Stakes – one short of the record set by the great Vincent O’Brien.

This year the Ballydoyle handler’s chief contender appears to be Cadamosto, who turns out just nine days after finishing a close-up fourth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

He is joined by two stablemates in The Acropolis, ninth in last week’s Coventry Stakes, and The Entertainer – who disappointed in the Marble Hill.

O’Brien said: “The Ascot run was Cadamosto’s first for a good while, and he seems to have taken it well.

“The Acropolis ran well at Ascot. He just got a little bit hampered about a furlong and a half down, but he ran well.

“The Entertainer ran in bad ground the last day, and we thought the going didn’t suit him. Hopefully he’ll leave that run behind him.”

There are two interesting challengers from Britain in David Loughnane’s Go Bears Go and the Richard Hannon-trained Dukebox.

Go Bears Go was beaten just a head into second place in the Norfolk, and his trainer is hoping he can go one better this weekend.

Loughnane said: “He came out of Ascot really well, so we said we’d take a crack at it.

“If he turns up in the same form as he went to Ascot, I think he’ll put up a big show.

“I still very much believe he’s the best we’ve trained – and I think we’ve plenty to look forward to with him.”

Richard Hannon saddles the unbeaten Dukebox
Richard Hannon saddles the unbeaten Dukebox (Nigel French/PA)

Dukebox is two from two for the Hannon team, but faces a step up in class.

“He appears to get fatter with racing – he’s got a great constitution,” said the trainer.

“He’s very tough, but you can’t really put a ceiling on what he’s capable of because he doesn’t win by far – that’s just what he’s like.

“This is a lovely race on a lovely track, and a few people have had the same idea to miss Ascot and come here.

“My lad’s a good two-year-old. Whether he’s good enough, we’ll find out on Saturday.”