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The Lir Jet gains first win since 2020 Royal Ascot on US debut

Last year's Norfolk Stakes scorer The Lir Jet made a successful debut in the US for trainer Brendan Walsh when sealing a third consecutive victory in the Grade 2 Franklin-Simpson Stakes at Kentucky Downs for owners Qatar Racing.

The Lir Jet was a dual winner from ten starts for Michael Bell in Britain, defeating Golden Pal by a neck in the Group 2 two-year-old contest at Royal Ascot in June 2020 after breaking the track record at Yarmouth just over two weeks earlier.

He finished third in the Greenham Stakes on his return this year but failed to fire in three subsequent starts, leading to a switch to the US, where Bell and connections felt he would be suited by the style of racing.

The Lir Jet, also part-owned by RacehorseClub.com, was given a cool ride up the inside rail on Saturday by Tyler Gaffalione, staying on strongly over the six and a half furlongs to defeat the Mark Casse-trained Easy Time, ridden by Adam Beschizza, by a length and three-quarters.

Qatar Racing previously landed the Franklin-Simpson Stakes with Guildsman last year and Legends Of War in 2019.

Sheikh Fahad, chairman of Qatar Racing, quoted by BloodHorse, said: "From the first year we won, I told Fergus [Galvin, Qatar Racing's US racing manager] that we wanted to go again. And this year we figured out that this horse was ideal for this race.

"Credit is due to Michael Bell, who trained the horse in England. I had a chat with him, and he said to me that he thought this horse would suit racing in America, and would suit Kentucky Downs. He said to take him to America, and send him to one of your trainers over there.

"Brendan has been very lucky for us. He's a very good trainer and deserves all the luck he's been getting. Tyler gave him an unbelievable ride. I spoke to Oisin Murphy, who rides him in England, and he said just make sure he's sitting third, fourth, and that he has something to aim at. He thought he was better than the others here, and he showed that."

 

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