Lyons targets Angel delight
Lily's Angel steps up in class for the Group Two Balanchine at Meydan on Thursday after winning on her Dubai debut last month.
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Trained by Richard Fahey until September, she has been successful on all her four starts for Ger Lyons, including a valuable handicap at Leopardstown and a Listed race at Dundalk.
This is by far her toughest test to date, however, as she comes up against Igugu, South Africa's horse of the year from 2011-12, and Godolphin's Sajjhaa.
Mike de Kock's Igugu is now six but won two Grade Ones in her youth, but it is over a year since she ran and De Kock feels this is a tough ask on her first start back.
"It is almost 13 months since she ran," said De Kock.
"But she has been working well and we are very happy with her fitness levels and preparation for this comeback run.
"She is far from fully wound up but is ready for a run.
"She is going straight into a Group Two race which is a big ask after such a long break but we need to find out if that competitive edge is still there after such a long time off and a long trip to get here."
Godolphin have three runners, with Kieren Fallon on Dark Orchid and Paul Hanagan riding Spellwork.
Silvestre de Sousa is on their main hope Sajjhaa, who won in good style at the track last month.
Saeed bin Suroor trains all three horses and said: "She (Sajjhaa) won well first time and has improved in her work since then.
"The extra 200m will suit her but she carries a penalty in a better race and Igugu looks a big danger for Mike de Kock.
"We also have Spellwork and Dark Orchid in the race as they were when Sajjhaa won last time.
"Both should run well and are definitely fitter now."
Mahmood Al Zarooni runs the former Mark Johnston-trained Prussian, while Colliding Worlds is another Irish raider for Pat Shanahan.
Elsewhere on the card, Mick Halford saddles Invincible Ash and Russian Soul against Medicean Man in the five-furlong handicap, while Al Zarooni's Mandaean is out again in the Al Fahidi Fort after winning impressively on his Meydan debut.