Phoenix Stakes preview: Soft ground unknown territory for Siskin

Fri 9 Aug 2019

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Connections of Siskin admit if the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh is run on soft ground then the red-hot favourite will be in unknown territory.

Heavy rain is forecast prior to the contest and to date the unbeaten son of First Defence has yet to race on anything worse than good ground.

With trainer Ger Lyons keen to win a Group One on home soil, Siskin looks his best chance to date of breaking his duck.

He faces only four rivals, but they include Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Lytham, winner of the July Stakes at Newmarket, and Monarch Of Egypt, second to Siskin in the Railway Stakes.

Siskin was an impressive winner of the Railway Stakes - watch what our experts had to say about his victory

“The horse has been in good form, but obviously the weather will play a part in the race,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Siskin’s owner, Khalid Abdullah.

“They are supposed to get monumental amounts of rain, so we’ll all be going into unknown territory on that front.

“The horse himself has been in good form and been pleasing Ger.

“This race has always been his plan since he won the Railway and there has been no reason to divert.

“It may only be a small field, but it is a solid one. There’s no (Coventry Stakes winner) Arizona, but there’s still a July Stakes winner in there.”

Royal Lytham beat a useful field in the July Stakes at Newmarket

O’Brien also runs Mount Fuji, with the field completed by John Murphy’s Think Big.

Murphy has been disheartened by the forecast for his son of Night Of Thunder, whom he feels needs quick ground to be seen at his best.

“It looks like it’s going to be really soft and I think my lad wants it fast,” said Murphy.

“It might not suit any of them, you just don’t know. We’re gutted about the forecast.”

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