Adrian Keatley harbouring high hopes for Naas victor London Icon

Wed 4 Oct 2017

Trainer Adrian Keatley is excited to see what London Icon can achieve next season after the youngster opened his account in impressive style at Naas.

The Elzaam colt was a highly-promising third on his racecourse debut at the Curragh in August and he was the 9-10 favourite to go two better in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden.

It was relatively plain sailing for the market leader as he pulled three and a quarter lengths clear of Night Of Power under title-chasing Pat Smullen.

"He's a fair horse and we think a lot of him. We have done since the spring and he's repaying the faith we've had in him from day one," said Keatley.

The Ballymount-based trainer is not ruling out another juvenile appearance, with the Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown an option, but already has one eye on next year.

He added: "Whether he runs again this year, I don't know. There is a Group Three at Leopardstown.

"Pat thought he'd be better on a bit of nicer ground and felt he didn't get to hit top gear with him there today on that ground.

"He'll definitely make the winter a bit shorter. We have been patient all the way through as he's a big, scopey horse and we weren't going to be rushing him anyhow."

Smullen had earlier initiated a double aboard Michael O'Callaghan's 15-8 favourite Aurora Eclipse in the Naas Racecourse Maiden.

However, he remains four winners behind Colin Keane in the race to be crowned this year's champion Flat jockey, with Keane on the mark on the Ger Lyons-trained Who's Steph (2-1) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

Johnny Murtagh enjoyed a double on the afternoon, with Shane Foley scoring aboard Mister Magic (7-1) in the claimer and Niall McCullagh steering Yolo Star (6-1) to success in the Book Hospitality Online Nursery Handicap.

Of the latter, Murtagh said: "I was just a bit worried that she might not be fit enough, but she's very tough and hardy.

"She had a little niggly problem after she won in Cork, but her heart is the biggest part of her. She is a little bit up in her weight, but maybe she's developing and Niall said she's a jockey's dream."

He added: "I thought I had two chances coming here and I'm very happy to be going home with two winners.

"I'm very happy with the way the season is going. It's very consistent and we are not just having a bunch of winners and then stopping. There has been a constant flow from the start of the year, and it's all down to good staff and good riders."

Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning combined to land the Nursery Handicap with 13-2 chance Scoil Naisiunta.

The concluding Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden went to Aidan O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan via 4-6 favourite Flag Of Honour.

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