Low-key Deagon trainer James Lyons is looking for a black-type victory at Ipswich Cup Day this Saturday when he saddles up his promising galloper Drenalin in the $175,000 Listed Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m).
One of three Listed features on the Saturday race-card for Ipswich, the Eye Liner Stakes has drawn a wide-open field of 15 genuine hopefuls.
No horse has emerged as a clear favourite in the sprint showdown, however there has been plenty of early support for current top elect Drenalin.
The five-year-old Monashee Mountain gelding is drawn in barrier nine for the Eye Liner Stakes, which will be Drenalin’s second-up for the year.
Drenalin resumed at Doomben after a lengthy seven month spell, running a credible seventh to fellow Eye Liner Stakes rival Gundy Son in the Listed Chief De Beers (1110m) on May 28.
That race was a blanket finish, less than a length separating the seventh-placed Drenalin from the winner.
“It was the best seventh I’ve ever seen,” Lyons said of Drenalin’s run in the Chief De Beers.
“He was very unlucky not to win.
“He was in a good spot early and started to charge up from the 600 metres.
“But he had to change course about three times in the last 300 metres which cost him the race.
“He’s a big horse and weighs 508 kilos and he needs to get rolling in his races.
“He has a huge stride and likes to lope along, but when he decided to get running last start, he had nowhere to go.”
With a run up his sleeve and jockey Brad Stewart again engaged for the ride, Drenalin is being tipped by his trainer as having the ability to bounce back and salute at Ipswich to add a second black-type win to his record.
Having run 22 times for eight wins and six minor placings to date, Drenalin’s maiden stakes success came in last year’s Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast.
He backed up after that narrow victory over Mr Baritone with a brave third behind subsequent 2011 Doomben 10,000 champion Beaded in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) before an unplaced run in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm and a fifth behind Adnocon in the 2010 Eye Liner Stakes (1350m).
Lyons is confident that Drenalin can turn the table on defending champion Adnocon, who is prepared by Gerald Ryan, after their defeat in the race 12 months ago.
“It was his seventh run that campaign and he should have been in the paddock two runs earlier after he ran third to Beaded in the BRC Sprint,” Lyons said when discussing Drenalin’s run in last year’s Eye Liner.
Drenalin, bred by Lyons, was originally sent to Gerald Ryan’s Sydney stable for training.
Lyons, a nephew to former riding great Peter Cook, started began his training career at just 21 years of age and at one stage had a prominent stable of two dozen thoroughbreds.
He now has just two horses in work at his Deagon stables, his main income coming from his job in real estate sales.
Over the years Lyons has worked for some of the best in the business having been a pre-trainer for Victoria’s Vinery Stud and also training alongside John Sadler when the duo worked for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Racing operation.
Sadler had a controversial and well-documented fall out with Sheikh Mohammed and he along with Lyons went to work for prolific owner Lloyd Williams for two years.
After the stint with Williams, Lyons returned to his Queensland base and now holds high hopes that Drenalin will be the horse to answer his long-time dream of winning a thoroughbred major.
Following the Eye Liner at Ipswich this weekend, Lyons is looking towards the Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) on Caloundra Cup Day, Saturday June 2 for Drenalin.
If the galloper shows good form, Drenalin will then be tested at a mile with Lyons looking for the horse to display staying potential to target the Melbourne Spring Carnival races for a second year.
“When I took him to Melbourne last spring Glen Boss rode him and he told me then he was crying for a mile (1600m),” Lyons said.
Drenalin had three runs during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival over 1200m when finishing 10th at Moonee Valley in September, 1440m for a win at Caulfield on September 26 and then finally over 1400m at Caulfield in October where they ran 10th in the Harrolds Fashion Plate before being spelled.