The story of this €17,500 maiden is all about one horse, rightly or wrongly. Frankel has made a stunning start to his career as a sire and Lightening Fast looks set to make his debut for Ger Lyons and Qatari Racing. It will be the first run for a Frankel foal on Irish soil.
Lightening Fast’s Breeding
Bred by owner’s Qatari Racing out of Pearl Bloodstock’s Lightening Pearl, he’s the 7 year old mare’s first foal. She won 3 of her 7 career starts including a Group 3 at the Curragh by 5 lengths and the Cheveley Park Stakes, a Group 1 for 2 year olds at Newmarket. She was given a rating of 111 by the handicapper after that half length victory and while she didn’t reach those heights again on her next two starts before retirement, Ger Lyons put that down to her not training on.
Lightening Fast has been installed at the head of the market at a very fair 7/4 price and we’re tipping him up for victory! Read on to find out what we think about the others in the field.
Frankel’s Record So Far
With 14 wins from 14 starts, and a 140 rating from the handicapper, Frankel’s success is well known to anyone who follows racing. His wins came over distances between 7 and 10.5 furlongs and on ground from Soft to Good to Firm, and there was plenty of excitement when his first foals were entered earlier this year following his £125,000 stud fee.
Since Cunco opened his progeny’s account on the 13th May, he has had no less than 6 winners from 11 runners, with the best of those being Seven Heaven’s win in a Class 3 Maiden at Ascot. The other 5 runs are always worth noting though, as they include a 4th in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes, a 3rd in the Group 3 Albany Stakes and 3rd and 5th in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Ascot.
With the expectation that there are a number of his best foals yet to come, including a very exciting Al Shaqab Racing owned colt who is out of Dar Re Mi and trained by John Gosden, it’s unlikely the Frankel train has got out of first gear.
Ger Lyons Confident
Ger is always very honest and open about his runners and this is what he had to say about Lightening Fast’s chances today.
“Our Group 1 star LIGHTENING PEARL went in foal to the great FRANKEL and out popped LIGHTENING FAST and he has his first start today. He is the image of his dam and has been very straight forward to train from day one. He’s not over big but just loves his work and I would like to think that he has a bright future. There’s going to be a lot of hype around him today as he’s the first Frankel to run over here and the ones that have started in England have done well but remember a Curragh maiden is usually a bit stronger than most maidens and there are other lovely pedigrees on show. This lad is ready to start and I’m sure he will run a smart race with plenty of promise but there is plenty left to improve on as with all my starters.”
Final declarations are now through and there are some potentially interesting runners for Lightening Fast to come up against.
Beast is the Qatar Racing second string, he was a 50,000 guineas purchase in November 2014 and is a half brother to Listed winner Inyordreams and Listed 2 year old runner up Fire Eyes. Opening at 10/1 and drifting a point to 11/1 immediately, Pat Smullen is an interesting booking and could run well at a big price.
Aidan O’Brien has a number in the race and his first string appears to be the impeccably bred Taj Mahal who although well beaten at 10/11 on debut, left the impression that there will be much better to come. A full brother to Gleneagles, Marvellous and Coolmore, he has plenty to live up to and there has been plenty of early money, backed from 5/1 to 11/4. His debut effort was poor though and he’ll need to step up markedly on that.
Arcada runs for Joseph O’Brien who has booked Donnacha and he holds the current best form in the race with a fourth here 20 days ago. Beaten 4 lengths at 8/1, that was his second start and given the breeding of some of those in this field it would be hugely disappointing if he was winning this at 6/1.
Lancaster Bomber is another Aidan O’Brien entry who is also beautifully bred and related to numerous winners. He is a half brother to Excelebration, rated 129 after his Queen Elizabeth II win in 2012 and by the producer of exceptional juveniles, War Front. However, War Front’s progeny tend to like quick ground (likely to get Good to Yielding today) and the jockey booking of Ana O’Brien plus the opening price of 16/1 together don’t show much market confidence. He could outrun his odds though.