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Siskin team swerve Pinatubo showdown and target Newmarket mission in Middle Park Stakes

Siskin sees off his rivals to claim Group One glory in the Phoenix Stakes.

Flat racing fans were left feeling disappointed over the weekend, as connections of Siskin announced their top colt would miss Irish Champions Weekend in favour of a trip to Newmarket later in the month.

The Irish Champion Stakes and the Irish St Leger may be the feature races on each day of Irish Champions Weekend, but for many the most mouth-watering showdown of the meeting was due to take place in the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes.

Charlie Appleby’s all-conquering Pinatubo, who has run roughshod through the competition on home-turf in Britain, will bid to follow in the footsteps of Quorto and win the National Stakes on his Irish debut. Siskin, who was last seen scoring in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, was due to line up in opposition, along with Aidan O’Brien’s Futurity Stakes winner, Armory.

The early betting indicated the home runners would have their hands full with the Godolphin raider, with many bookmakers listing Pinatubo as the firm 4/7 favourite. This seemed unlikely to put team Siskin off a seismic clash with their British counterpart, with his trainer, Ger Lyon claiming on his website four days ago that his charge was being “driven towards the National Stakes.”

So, it was somewhat surprising to read yesterday that the team behind Siskin had performed a dramatic U-Turn. Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, spoke to the Racing Post a revealed the Curragh was no longer on Siskin’s agenda.


"Siskin is fine," said Grimthorpe, "The decision has been taken to miss the National Stakes at the Curragh and wait for the Middle Park."

"In the back of our minds the Middle Park was always the race we were looking at most of all. We just feel he's better suited sticking to six furlongs at this stage."

Along with the suitability of the trip, the chance to gain some valuable experience on the Rowley Mile was surely another contributing factor to Siskin’s National Stakes swerve. The 2020 2000 Guineas, which takes place on that famous strip of turf next spring, is the long-term objective for Ger Lyon’s colt and it’s there where the hotly-anticipated clash with Pinatubo will likely take place.

Paddy Power shortened Pinatubo into 1/2 favouritism for this weekend’s National Stakes when it was announced Siskin would not be present. Armory is the 11/4 second-favourite, with stablemates Lope Y Fernandez and Monarch Of Egypt further adrift at 12/1. Victory on Sunday would cement Pinatubo’s position as the ante-post favourite for the Guineas and it will be up to Siskin, the 11/1 second-favourite for next year’s Classic, to respond when he makes his British debut at Newmarket.

*Current betting markets with Paddy Power*
Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (15/9/19 Curragh)
1/2 Pinatubo, 3/1 Armory, 12/1 Lope Y Fernandez, Monarch Of Egypt, 16/1 Bar

2020 2000 Guineas (30/4/20 Newmarket)
3/1 Pinatubo, 11/1 Siskin, Armory, 12/1 Earthlight, Mum’s Tipple, 16/1 Palace Pier, 20/1 Threat, Lope Y Fernandez, Monarch Of Egypt, 25/1 Bar

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Siskin team swerve Pinatubo showdown and target Newmarket mission in Middle Park Stakes

Flat racing fans were left feeling disappointed over the weekend, as connections of Siskin announced their top colt would miss Irish Champions Weekend in favour of a trip to Newmarket later in the month.

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