Thursday 30 June 2011

Hannon: Two-Year-Old Talk

Ireland has been a happy hunting ground for Lilbourne Lad, who could well head back to The Curragh in September for the Group 1 National Stakes, having supplemented Naas Listed gains when winning the Group 2 Railway Stakes on the Kildare course on Sunday.

Reflecting on Lilbourne Lad's success, the boss said:"You would not know that Lilbourne Lad was there on the gallops as he is never spectacular in the mornings, but he comes alive on the track and he is arguably unlucky not to be unbeaten in four races.

"He is a very hardy youngster, but he needed to be to get on top of Tough As Nails, who lived up to his name in Ireland, and it was a real war of attrition between the two of them in the final furlong.

"We will certainly be looking at the Prix Morny at Deauville, but stepping up to seven furlongs would not be a problem, so the National Stakes would also come into the equation later on.

"Now that he has won his Group 2, we need to press the button for the penthouse, and Hughesie, who admits that he thought that he was 'just a horse' when he first sat on him, was impressed and reckons we should make hay with him as a two-year-old.

"It was encouraging that he acted on the easy ground ok. It had dried out after Saturday's rain but was still on the slow side and quite holding, so, having won twice on a fast surface, it was pleasing to see that he could handle some cut, too."

We were in double form with the two-year-olds at Salisbury, with both Eureka and Graphic winning, and, assessing their performances, the boss added:"Eureka surprised us when winning first time out at Nottingham as, though we knew he was useful, we thought he would come on for the run.

"However, he has improved again since Nottingham, and, though they tell me that Sir Percy won this race, our fellow is by Kheleyf, so we aren't thinking of the Derby!

"Eureka has bags of speed and he could be a major player for the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury next month, though he'll definitely get six furlongs later on.

"It was a shame that Esentepe again found one too good in the maiden, but luckily it was another one of ours in Graphic.

"These bonus races are worth winning, and that is why we ran three, and, while Esentepe will definitely win her maiden and has solid form, we knew that Graphic, who carries the colours of the 230 members of the Royal Ascot Racing Club, had come on a lot for his Newbury debut, so it was not that much of a surprise that he won."