Flying start for Aidan O'Brien as new Irish Flat season kicks off at Naas

Sun 26 Mar 2017

Aidan O'Brien wasted little time in getting off the mark for the new Irish Flat season as he recorded a 29-1 double at Naas.

Star of the show was undoubtedly Orderofthegarter (11-4), who was a most convincing winner as he made most of the running to spreadeagle the opposition in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, under O'Brien's daughter, Ana, who also won for her father on Alphabet.

O'Brien said of the well-entered son of Galileo, who was second on both his starts as a two-year-old: "He'd a couple of good runs. He galloped home well and will get further.

"He'll step up now and could go to Leopardstown for a Guineas Trial."

The opening day was switched to Naas while the Curragh undergoes improvement work and it saw Alphabet (7-1) open her account in impressive fashion when having her first start for O'Brien in the Weatherbys GSB Goes Online Maiden.

Having shown bits of form in three starts for the now-retired David Wachman last term, the daughter of Lawman turned the six-furlong heat into a procession as she stormed home by five and and a half lengths.

O''Brien said: "David liked her last year, but his horses were sick. He thought she was quick, and she seems to handle any ground. She jumped and travelled very strongly.

"We are happy with the way the horses have run today.

"You are never sure how forward they are at this time of the year before you run. We won't have a two-year-old runner out until the Dundalk meeting (April 12) or maybe the meeting here the weekend before that. They will be just ready to start."

County Meath handler Ger Lyons enjoyed a flying start of his own with a 220-1 brace courtesy of Gymkhana and stable stalwart Brendan Brackan, who took the feature Tote Irish Lincolnshire after a 162-day absence.

The eight-year-old was the bigger price of Lyons' two runners but the eight-year-old made light of the steadier of 9st 12lb to oblige at odds of 16-1 with better-backed stable companion Sea Wolf in third.

Tribal Path led into the straight, but Gary Carroll had Brendan Brackan well-placed towards the far rail before going on inside the final furlong to beat Aussie Valentine by a length and a half.

"To be honest we fancied Sea Wolf more, but you can't beat class," said Lyons.

"He's been an absolute legend for the yard, and hopefully he can win another stakes race this year.

"I'm delighted for Gary as well, as he's a big part of the team. He got a lovely split on the inner and he just took off."

Gymkhana (12-1) found a decisive burst of speed to make a winning first start since joining the Lyons stable when taking the Naas Racecourse Launches The 2017 Flat Season Handicap.

Bought for 21,000 guineas at Tattersalls Autumn Sales out of David Smaga's French stable, the Equiano colt stamped his authority on the six-furlong contest with a great flourish in the final furlong under Colin Keane.

Lyons said: "He's been very straightforward and I felt if it was seven furlongs I would have fancied him to be in the money. I was learning as much about him as everyone else today.

"That was a nice performance and he has plenty of toe, but you would like to think he will get further."

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