Lyons can 'go the extra mile
Ger Lyons will again send a very small but select team to the Galway Festival and with no runner on the opening day, his first runner of the week will come in the Topaz Mile which he won 12 months ago with the impressive Brendan Brackan.
Depending on the ground later in the week, Lyons may not even have much more representation at Ballybrit but in Piri Wango he looks to have a horse that isn't ground dependent and could well follow in the footsteps of Brendan Brackan.
The last three winning favourites of the Topaz Galway Mile have been priced at 6/1 (twice) and 7/1.
There have only been three since 1996, which is testament to just how competitive a race it is. Last year, Brendan Brackan, under promising apprentice Colin Keane, cruised to a facile eight-and-a-half-length victory at odds of 10/1.
Keane has converted from a promising apprentice to a jockey with one of the best jobs in Ireland as Lyons' retained rider in that 12-month period and Piri Wango could supply the in form team with another big pot winner.
Unseen since finishing down the field at Naas in early June, Piri Wango was given a break by his trainer, who afterwards said: "He's not a horse you want to back up too quick and will be aimed at Galway for the race Brendan Brackan won last year."
The Group One-winning trainer added: "He's a horse that is better fresh and has a serious engine."
Piri Wango's absence of 57 days shouldn't concern punters as he has won on each of his three first runs of the season.
And although not landing a blow at Naas last time out, that was behind the Dermot Weld-trained Tested who is reported to be one of the stables leading fancies for the week when lining up in the listed Corrib Stakes here on Thursday, and with a bit of luck in running the five-year-old should go close.
Tomorrow's card doesn't look to hold the strongest claims of the week for Weld's usually all-conquering team and his best chance of a winner looks to come in the Caulfieldindustrial.com EBF Maiden over seven furlongs courtesy of three-year-old filly Antique Platinum.
The Moyglare Stud-owned daughter of Holy Roman Emperor had a nice introduction to racing at Naas on her only start to date and if she can build on that she shouldn't be far away in a race that Weld has won eight times since 1990, five of which were ridden by Pat Smullen.
The penultimate Caulfield Industrial Athlone Handicap over the same trip looks a trappy affair with cases being made for so many, but Ken Condon's In Salutem has been running consistently well of late and is certainly worth a second look. The four-year-old is at the top end of the handicap but deserves to get his head in front.