independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Edith Cowan's luck can turn in reliable hands of Murtagh

On a nondescript but typically busy Dundalk spread tonight, Johnny Murtagh is trusted to justify Edith Cowan's nap recommendation.

The five-time champion jockey partners the unexposed three-year-old for Charles O'Brien in the mile handicap, following her luckless run when fourth here three weeks ago.

Left behind badly at the start that evening, the Galileo filly still had the entire field in front of her as they began to straighten for home.

From there, she struggled to find a gap under Leigh Roche, yet flashed home once she did get out, eventually being beaten two lengths by Maude Adams.

In the circumstances, it was a commendable effort from Edith Cowan, and you'd have to conclude that the Cork maiden winner is well capable of doing a job off her current mark.

In the earlier nursery, Sherzam, which Murtagh rode to be fourth at Gowran Park in September for his Pollardstown tenant Tommy Carmody, is fancied to make the most of Luke Dempsey's seven-pound claim. Second on its handicap bow at the Curragh off a mark of 73, fourth was the best Sherzam could manage off 77 at Gowran.

The Exceed And Excel filly has not been dropped in the meantime, but Dempsey is excellent value for his allowance.

Champion apprentice Ronan Whelan, another immensely talented young rider, might continue his fine run of recent results by securing a handicap brace courtesy of Solo Performer and Mountain Woman, while Balmont Flyer also appeals in the hands of a youngster.

Joanne Morgan's four-year-old meets First Friday in the second division of the apprentices' handicap, with Conor Orr booked for just his third ride.

When Balmont Flyer and First Friday last met here three weeks ago, First Friday prevailed by a nose before losing the race in the stewards' room, only to be reinstated on appeal.

When you factor in Orr's claim, Balmont Flyer, a course winner in October, is 11lbs better off now for a nose deficit. That should be enough to swing the verdict his way.

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