independent

Monday 21 April 2014

O'Regan takes centre stage with double for Ferguson

DENIS O'REGAN combined skill with a little showmanship as the Cork native took both divisions of Leicester's two-mile novices' hurdle on two promising sorts from John Ferguson's stable.

There will not be many cheekier victories seen all season than that of Pine Creek in the first leg, while smart Flat horse Whispering Gallery was given the ideal first experience of his new occupation later on.

Never a jockey short on confidence when in with a chance, O'Regan exceeded himself on Pine Creek as he sidled alongside a hard-at-work Tony McCoy on the run-in.

It would have been interesting to gauge the champion jockey's thoughts as his motionless rival poked the 6/5 favourite's head in front on the line.

As a benefit of his remit as Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor, Ferguson picks up some useful equine material to remodel at his burgeoning jumping yard near Newmarket, and Pine Creek arrived from Andre Fabre's operation in France.

Beaten by subsequent winner Lord Of House on his debut at Folkestone, he got off the mark, despite pulling O'Regan's arms out for much of the way and jumping untidily at many of the flights.

"It was only his second run over hurdles. It was very heavy when he ran at Folkestone and it was great for him to win on better ground without having a hard race," said the winning trainer.

Ferguson scored again with Whispering Gallery, which rose to a mark of 112 on the Flat with Saeed bin Suroor and had beaten Godolphin's top-class stayer Opinion Poll on his most recent outing in a Group Three at Meydan in March 2011.

Only given his head at the final flight, the 8/11 favourite tore two and three-quarter lengths clear of Wake Your Dreams at the finish.

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