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feeling's mutual

There aren't too many big races that eluded Johnny Murtagh as a jockey but the Ebor Handicap at York was one of them but the popular Meath man will go in search for a first win in the race tomorrow but this time as a trainer.

Murtagh sends over the Andrew Tinkler-owned Mutual Regard for a tilt at the £265,000 1m6f contest and despite the current odds of 20/1, Mutual Regard is not without his chance on just his third start for Murtagh's Curragh outfit.

Murtagh is in his first full season as a licensed trainer but when Tommy Carmody held the licence at his yard and he was heavily involved in the training of those horses, Royal Diamond was only just denied in the Ebor of 2012 when going down a neck to Willing Foe on what was just his fifth start for the Carmody-Murtagh team.

Royal Diamond went on to become a Classic winner after that when taking the Irish St Leger among other Group races and after Mutual Regard won at the Curragh on his first outing for Murtagh, he didn't rule out similar progression from this five-year-old.

On form, Mutual Regard was impressive when winning off 95 in a handicap at the Curragh but more so improved again to run a nice race in Listed company behind Pale Mimosa, who will give a good form guide today in the Lonsdale Cup, also at York.

That effort was at Leopardstown when Mutual Regard was third and the second, Manalapan, has come out and won very impressively since at Down Royal, while Eye Of The Storm, who was fourth, also went on to win the Group Three Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown.

The selection raced keenly at Leopardstown last time and if he can settle in the hands of Louis Steward - who claims a valuable 5lbs off 9st9lbs - the pair will go very close at nice odds.

Jamie Spencer stole a lot of headlines over the last 24 hours or so when announcing he will retire at the end of the year. He won the Ebor on Dirar and Purple Moon in the past and won't be without his chance on top weight Whiplash Willie for Andrew Balding, who is also best priced at 25/1 with Boylesports.

Meanwhile, at the Curragh tomorrow, Tom Hogan will send out Gordon Lord Byron as he warms up his stable star for another tilt at the Sprint Cup at Haydock for which Slade Power was yesterday deemed unlikely and last year's winner Gordon Lord Byron is 16/1 for a repeat of last year's triumph.


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