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Impressive Inisherin emerges as top sprinter as Vandeek's unbeaten run ended

Kevin Ryan floored an odds-on hotpot in the Group 2 Betfred Sandy Lane Stakes (1200m) at Haydock on Saturday for the second time in five years and hopes are high that he has yet another Group 1 sprinter on his hands.

His Hello Youmzain overturned the supposedly unbeatable 2-13 favourite Calyx in this three-year-old test in 2019 and went on to prove himself a top-notcher, landing the Sprint Cup back here and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

And the trainer will have Group 1 aspirations for Inisherin, who earned a 10-1 quote for the July Cup from Paddy Power after powering clear to take the Sandy Lane Stakes by an impressive three and three-quarter lengths under Tom Eaves, with 8-11 favourite Vandeek only third.

The winner had raced solely over a mile, winning at Newcastle and finishing sixth in the 2,000 Guineas. But the trainer, who has also won top-level sprints with Desert Lord, Brando, Glass Slippers and Emaraaty Ana knows a speed horse when he sees one and a drop in distance paid off spectacularly.

"I was always in my comfort zone," Eaves said. "He's a very good horse – it makes life easy!

"It was solid form in the Guineas. You always question whether they will be quick enough coming to sprinting but Kevin was always very confident of that.

"It's only his fourth start so he's a horse very much on the up and just finding his feet. I don't know what the plan is but he's got plenty of speed and there will be plenty of options."

Ryan's daughter Amy added: "He's a lovely horse with a great brain, a great mind. Physically he stood out in the prelims and he has such a fantastic attitude.

"We've always thought loads of him. He's so laid back, we started him over a mile, he won at Newcastle on his return then he ran a blinder in the Guineas, he wasn't beaten very far. But he's got so much natural speed. It's exciting to have options.

"It's nice to have another good sprinter coming through, you miss them when they retire."

Inisherin's only entry at Royal Ascot is over a mile and when asked about plans Ryan said: "We'll get him home and see how he comes out of the race."

However, the Commonwealth Cup remains a likely target for the previously unbeaten Vandeek, who was having his first run since winning the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last autumn. Ed Crisford felt the testing conditions caught James Doyle's mount out.

"He was a bit fresh early on and travelled super in the race but just got tired on that ground," the joint-trainer said. "All these horses had had runs, the winner ran in the Guineas. James felt that last furlong was a long way home.

"We'll keep going with the plan and head to Ascot as long as the horse is okay. It's obviously a shame he was beaten but these things happen in racing. I'm sure he'll come on a hell of a lot for the race."

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