The Flat is back! O’Brien double and Lee’s return headline at Naas
The Flat Turf season began with a bang yesterday with Aidan O’Brien and daughter Ana left celebrating a double at Naas.
Elsewhere, Graham Lee was in the winner’s enclosure, 25 years after taking his first ride at the track when he partnered Dosh for Noel Meade over the jumps.
And trainer Ger Lyons had plenty to celebrate when landing the Irish Lincolnshire with 16/1 shot Brendan Bracken.
Here’s our look at the key storylines…
O’Briens make a fast start to the season
Aidan O’Brien didn’t have to wait too long for his first success of the campaign with Alphabet a five-and-a-half length winner in the second race of the day.
The three-year-old had only shown bits and pieces of form under previous trainer David Wachman but looked mightily impressive when scoring for her new yard.
Daughter Ana was in the saddle. She later brought up a 29/1 double when landing the spoils onboard the Orderofthegarter in a 1m maiden contest.
His 11 length success in the card’s closer was arguably the most eye-catching performance of the day and marked the son of Galileo out as one to watch in future.
After racing, O’Brien said: “He’ll step up now and could go to Leopardstown for a Guineas Trial.”
Channon and Lee team up to great effect
As previously touched upon, prior to yesterday Graham Lee hadn’t been seen at Naas since taking his first ride there a quarter of a century ago.
However, he certainly enjoyed going back to where it all began.
Lee partnered the Mick Channon-trained Czabo in the feature race of the card and duly landed the Group 3 contest at odds of 8/1.
Last year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas fourth had subsequently come last of 13 in the Coronation Stakes while a recent prep-run at Saint-Cloud was hardly worth writing home about.
But she’s roared back into form and in turn upset O’Brien jolly, Somehow.
Lyons left celebrating
While AOB’s double was noteworthy, it didn’t compare to the 220-1 gamble landed by fellow handler Ger Lyons.
Gymkhana was the first to oblige, picking up well to see off a few smart types in a 6f contest.
Then Brendan Bracken took the big one, the Irish Lincolnshire, with Lyons’ eight-year-old defying top weight to take the prize by a length and a half.
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