UK sprint prizes on radar for My Mate Alfie after Dash success

My Mate Alfie took a first Listed success in the Dash at the Curragh on Sunday, having placed in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes and the Listed Committed Stakes earlier in the campaign.

Trainer GER LYONS and COLIN KEANE won with SLAN ABHAILE. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

The son of Dark Angel was kept busy as a juvenile, resulting in one win and four placings before being gelded over the winter. After a promising fourth on seasonal reappearance in a Naas handicap, trainer Ger Lyons decided on a more ambitious campaign, pitching the gelding in at Listed and Group company since.

With little early pace in a seven-runner field, jockey Colin Keane was forced to sit in touch with the leaders and ran on well in the closing stages to secure a half-length success over Ano Syro.

"He's been very consistent all year and the blinkers have transformed him," said Lyons.

"He gets seven and the first furlong had me worried as they did 15 seconds and I thought it would turn into a sprint and they'd out-do him for speed.

"At home he's bombproof and you can do whatever you like, but if you run him here without blinkers he just parks and won't do a thing. The blinkers are the difference between winning and losing.

"It's great for Austin (Whelan, owner) and all his gang, he's called after his son Alfie. I'd say they'll take a while to get home tonight.

"We aimed to have three winners this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I said if we don't win this it's all on the Derby and I don't think that's going to happen!"

Paddy Power reacted to the victory by shortening My Mate Alfie from 33/1 to 20/1 for the Steward's Cup, with Lyons keen to visit the UK for a big sprinting prize.

"He's in the Stewards' Cup because it's a £250,000 race. I was fourth in it with a filly many years ago. I was also just chinned in an Ayr Gold Cup, I wanted to be the first Irish trainer to win it," he added.

"Those are two races that are on my agenda. I don't think he's good enough, but we'll see.

"We're always talking about prize-money. You've got the Wokingham that's worth £150,000 and the Stewards' Cup that is £250,000 so if you are serious about prize-money you have to partake."

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