Siskin in ‘great nick’ ahead of Classic date, insists Colin Keane

Colin Keane reports Siskin to be in "great nick" ahead of the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Friday week and believes the colt's chilled demeanour will give him every chance of seeing out his first start at a mile.
Siskin in ‘great nick’ ahead of Classic date, insists Colin Keane
9 August 2019; Siskin, with Colin Keane up, on their way to winning The Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh Racecourse in Kildare. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Colin Keane reports Siskin to be in "great nick" ahead of the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Friday week and believes the colt's chilled demeanour will give him every chance of seeing out his first start at a mile.

Unbeaten in four starts over six furlongs as a juvenile, the Ger Lyons-trained son of First Defence shocked connections when blotting his copybook in the Group 1Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last September, becoming fractious in the stalls and eventually having to be withdrawn.

Reflecting on an experience he admitted was "a bit frightening", jockey Keane is still at a loss to explain what spooked his horse.

"I don't know, being honest," he told Friday Night Racing on Off The Ball. "I couldn't give you an answer. It was so unlike him, his temperament is to die for and to do something like that, he has never done anything like that."

However, Keane says Siskin has thrived since and has no concerns about the lack of a prep run.

"He's done very well over the winter and he's in great nick now so we're just looking forward to it now," he said.  It's probably suited him (the lack of a prep run), the more time he's got, the better he's become. He looks a picture, he's training real well so we're very happy with him."

On the stamina question, Keane added: "He'll give himself every chance of staying, he's a very relaxed horse so we'll find out together."

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has published its full programme of National Hunt races for the months of June and July, as well as races scheduled for the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Racing is due to resume in Ireland on June 8 behind closed doors, but no jumps fixtures are planned until June 22 when Limerick will be in action.

Ireland traditionally has mixed cards at some tracks, but HRI has ruled it will allow single-code meetings only as it looks to minimise the number of people working at the racecourse.

That ruling has forced significant changes to the usual Galway Festival programme, although the Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle will be run on the Wednesday and Thursday of the meeting as normal, with a Listed novice hurdle and a Grade Three novice chase featuring on the respective cards.

There are 24 National Hunt meetings at 12 racecourses, with the Grade Three Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary on June 26 and the Grade Three An Riocht Chase at Killarney on July 7 particular highlights.

Shane Doyle, HRI's race-planning manager, said: "Most cards have been programmed with the possibility of a divide included to respond as effectively as possible to the demands of the horse population and give additional opportunities in the areas of highest demand.

"The quality of horses running through the summer programme, even outside the Galway Festival, continues to rise, with the likes of Ballyoisin, Darver Star, Peregrine Run and Ravenhill appearing regularly last year.

"I am sure we can look forward to some top action when National Hunt racing gets back under way."

HRI is planning to publish the full Flat programme up to the conclusion of the Galway Festival late next week.

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