| 11.4°C Dublin

Murtagh rules out ban appeal

Johnny Murtagh has decided not to appeal against the six-day suspension he picked up aboard winner Starspangledbanner in last Friday's July Cup.

The Irishman had been debating the issue as the dates rule him out of the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the first two days of Glorious Goodwood.

However, despite missing out on plum rides such as Cape Blanco at Ascot and the likes of Rip Van Winkle at Goodwood, Murtagh has decided against challenging the decision of the Newmarket stewards.

Darryll Holland will return to action at Epsom on Thursday and is already thinking about a possible Classic challenge with Ted Spread.

The 38-year-old has been sidelined since May 28 with a broken right collarbone, which he sustained when the filly Misty Morn reared up leaving the stalls in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.

Scans revealed a double fracture and although he did not require surgery, the recovery progress has been slower than anticipated.

Holland missed the Investec Derby ride aboard the Mark Tomkins-trained Ted Spread and also the whole of the lucrative Royal Ascot meeting.

But having returned from holiday in Barbados, the Manchester-born rider is keen to renew the partnership with the Chester Vase winner at York and then maybe in the Ladbrokes St Leger.

Holland said: "I'm well rested and I needed it. I rode out two lots for Marco Botti on Saturday and have been working to keep my fitness levels up by doing a lot of swimming.

"I've got two rides for Pat Eddery at Epsom on Thursday and I can't wait to get back."

Although Ted Spread finished a disappointing 11th of 12 to Workforce in the Derby under Michael Hills, Holland is hopeful the colt will redeem himself.

"There is talk about him running in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York (August 17) but after that there is still the St Leger to look forward to. I think the trip will suit him.

"I know I have missed an important part of the season, but when you look at what can happen with injuries, I'm very fortunate. There's a lot to look forward to."

Goldikova remains on course for a double raid on Deauville in August as connections continue to look towards an unprecedented third win in the Breeders' Cup Mile later in the year.

Freddie Head's five-year-old won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, beating a high-class field including Paco Boy and Rip Van Winkle.

She has already won at successive Breeders' Cup meetings at Santa Anita, emulating the brilliant Miesque who was ridden by Head, but with this year's meeting to be held at Churchill Downs, the trainer is worried the ground could be soft.

"She is very well at the moment, all has been well with her since Ascot and she is in good form," said Head.

"Everything is still in place for her to go for the two Deauville races, the Prix Rothschild on August 1 and the Prix Jacques le Marois on August 15. She won them both last year and obviously we hope she can again."

Richard Hannon has mooted the Prix Jacques le Marois as a possible target for his classy three-year-old Canford Cliffs, but Goldikova has been able to swat away challengers with regularity on her way to winning nine Group Ones so far.

"She has proved up to nearly every test so far," said Head.

"Canford Cliffs was very impressive at Ascot, he won very well and there is no doubt that he is a good horse.

"We had some rain in France last night but it is still dry. They were only showers so I wouldn't have thought the ground would be soft.

"The Breeders' Cup is at Louisville this year though and that can be a little bit wet. When I won there on Miesque, the going was soft that day but we'll see. She handled softer ground when she was younger but I don't think she likes it at all."

Aidan O'Brien's Jan Vermeer is the only challenger from Britain or Ireland in Wednesday's Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. Widely referred to as the French Derby since the Prix du Jockey Club reduced in distance to 10 furlongs, O'Brien last took the spoils in 2005 with Scorpion.

Jan Vermeer finished fourth in the Investec Derby when sent off favourite and went on to be third to stable companion Cape Blanco in the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored Irish equivalent at the Curragh.

Andre Fabre has dominated the race having taken it 10 times since 1989, including 12 months ago with Cavalryman. This year Fabre runs Godolphin's Lawspeaker, winner of a Listed race on his last start, and Goldwaki, a Group Three winner and supplemented for this.


Privacy