And the Lyons team was probably alone in welcoming the torrential showers which hit Bellewstown during the evening, turning ground conditions to “soft to heavy”, as Shane explained after Chapter Seven proved a facile winner of the finale, the Downolad The Racing Post App Race. “When the showers came, it was music to our ears because the heavier he ground the better for this horse. He’s a real character at home. But I’m chuffed he’s won so well.”
Chapter Seven slammed front-running Altrusitic by four and a half lengths as favourite Manalapan, off the track for thirteen months, dropped away tamely to finish last of the four runners.
Lyons added: “It’s almost three years since this horse won but he’s always been a good work-horse at home.He just won’t let himself down on summer ground. We’ve been good to him and minding him, so I hope he’ll repay us with a good autumn campaign. He’s in plenty of big races, but it will all depend on the ground. Colin said he loved the small field.”
The Lyons/Keane double was initiated when Mint Chai landed the opening two-year-old maiden, beating the Dermot Weld-trained favourite Ample Sufficiency by a half-length.
Shane Lyons explained: “He was too free the last day when we tried him with blinkers. But he’s been gelded since and we freshened him up.
“With a rating of 83, he was entitled to win his maiden. I thought he was very professional out there.”
Benkei, trained locally by Harry Rogers for Cork owner Jerry Nolan, proved a popular winner of the ‘It Pays To Bet With Tote’ Handicap. Always handy under Pat Smullen, the progressive five-year-old (15/8 favourite) got the better of market rival Ebadani turning for home but had to be kept up to his work to keep Sweet Cherry at bay by two and three-quarter lengths.
“He stays well and got through the ground,” said a delighted Rogers. “It’s great to have Pat (Smullen) on him. He’s a good man to have on your side. I thought he was in trouble at the furlong-pole, but he picked up again.”
Rogers is looking forward to launching Benkei over hurdles. But, in the more immediate future, he will target the €150,000 Petingo Handicap (at Leopardstown on Champions Weekend), followed by the Irish Cesarewitch.