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Straight Answer adds extra spice to Dewhurst confirmations

Ger Lyons’ unbeaten juvenile Straight Answer has been supplemented for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

The son of Kodiac won on his debut at the Curragh and was very impressive in a Listed race next time out, by five and a half lengths at Fairyhouse.

Barry Mahon, racing manager for owners Juddmonte, said: “He’s a big, scopey horse and took a bit of time to come to hand, but he’s two from two and won nicely on his last start.

“While this is a very big ask, we just thought it was worth a go as it will further his education for next year to put him in Group One company.

“Part of the reason we supplemented was the weather forecast, it looks set fair and he’s a horse that wants good ground. That would be our preference, so hopefully we don’t get any nasty surprises with the weather.

“This is a big step from a Listed at Fairyhouse to a Group One and it’s his first try over seven furlongs, so there’s a lot of variables, but we are excited to see if he can step up to that level.”

Charlie Appleby will aim to bounce back from his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe disappointment with the imposing Native Trail

Already a Group One winner in the National Stakes, Native Trail is unbeaten in three races and sets a tall standard for the others to aim at. The Godolphin trainer could also run Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Noble Truth.

Native Trail was impressive in Ireland last time out
Native Trail was impressive in Ireland last time out (Brian Lawless/PA)

Immediately in front of Noble Truth in France was Ralph Beckett’s Angel Bleu, who handled the soft conditions with aplomb – leaving his trainer to hope for something similar at the weekend, although the ground in Newmarket was described as good on Monday.

Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy dented the reputation of Reach For The Moon when winning the Champagne Stakes and has been aimed at this race since.

Hugo Palmer has never hidden the regard in which he holds Dubawi Legend and after an excuse was found for his defeat at York, better will be expected at HQ.

Aidan O’Brien has two options, chief among them being Glounthaune, not seen since a winning debut in April when he accounted for the smart Castle Star.

Bayside Boy (left) sees off Reach For The Moon in the Champagne Stakes
Bayside Boy (left) sees off Reach For The Moon in the Champagne Stakes (Mike Egerton/PA)

Royal Ascot winner Berkshire Shadow and Go Bears Go are also among the 12.

Jamie Osborne’s Mekong, former winner Withhold and several Willie Mullins entries such as Micro Manage, Whiskey Sour and MC Muldoon, are all towards the head of the weights in the Together For Racing International Cesarewitch.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Live Your Dreams and Richard Hughes’ Calling The Wind are other strong fancies confirmed at the five-day stage.

Lyons predicting bright future for Straight Answer

Ger Lyons is optimistic about Straight Answer’s future prospects after the Kodiac colt’s domination of the Listed Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes.

Straight Answer, a winning Juddmonte debutant at the Curragh last month, stuck to the same six-furlong trip at Fairyhouse and led throughout to win by almost six lengths on Monday.

His trainer has indicated the likelihood is that he will wait until next year for a third career start – with Classic or top-level sprinting aspirations evident on the basis of an unblemished juvenile record to date.

“Straight Answer is as fine a Kodiac as I have ever seen,” said Lyons, who already senses a move up in trip may eventually be in order.

“Of all the nice ones (two-year-olds in the County Meath yard), Dr Zempf and Beauty Inspire, I wouldn’t have had any of them as rip-roaring six-furlong horses.

“But you start them short, and they are doing their job, and I was very impressed with him – he bounced off the top of the ground, and I loved his attitude.

“He’s a horse to think warmly of over the winter. I thought he was going to be a seven-furlong/mile horse.”

Either way, Straight Answer is a name which can be expected to figure prominently in many of the bookmakers’ 2022 ante-post lists.

“The big races close early, so he’ll be in them,” added Lyons.

“Whether he’s finished for the year hasn’t been discussed yet – but I’d say that could be it, unless we think of something else.

“He’s a different model to Dr Zempf, who is slight, while this lad is robust.

“That could have caused a problem on good ground (at Fairyhouse), but he loved it. What an addition to the team he is.

“The minute he won his maiden we said we’d go to the Blenheim – and he delivered in spades.”

Straight Answer delivers clear-cut Blenheim verdict

Straight Answer maintained his perfect racecourse record when taking the Listed Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes at Fairyhouse.

The Ger Lyons-trained two-year-old, who is owned and was bred by Juddmonte, won a maiden race on debut at the Curragh in August.

That victory was followed up by another over the same six-furlong trip at Fairyhouse, with the colt this time an impressive five-and-a-half-length winner under Colin Keane.

Starting as the 2-1 favourite, the bay defeated six rivals and was unchallenged from the two-furlong pole to the line.

“We’re absolutely thrilled, he’s a work in progress,” said assistant trainer Shane Lyons.

“Ger and Barry (Mahon – Juddmonte’s European racing manager) will speak to the Abdullah family and see where we go now. He’ll probably be finished for this season.

“He’s a horse that we’ve loved and we have to thank the Abdullah family for bringing horses like this into our yard because this is what we get up in morning for. He’s going to keep us warm over the winter.

“You can see him walking around there, he’s very calm and collected and he’s what a good horse needs to be. He’ll keep us dreaming anyway.”