Friday 19 January 2018

Murtagh has high hopes for Purr Along at Royal Ascot

Johnny Murtagh believes Purr Along can make her presence felt. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Johnny Murtagh believes Purr Along can make her presence felt. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Thomas Kelly

Johnny Murtagh is looking forward to a trip to Royal Ascot with Purr Along.

Formerly trained in Britain by William Muir, the filly struck in a Group Three on her first run for Murtagh when beating Fiesolana in the Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh last month.

Beaten a head by Certify in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster as a juvenile, she is now set for a tilt at the Duke of Cambridge Stakes on June 18 – the second day of the showpiece meeting.

Murtagh said: "She came out of race very well, I'm happy with her and we'll give it a go in the Duke of Cambridge.

"She was always going well in the spring, she had a few little hold-ups but she is a filly we like and if we can keep her as she was at the Curragh she should make her presence felt."

Murtagh enjoyed one his biggest days as a trainer to date when he rode his Royal Diamond to victory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October.

The Irish St Leger hero will join the Murtagh squad in Berkshire as he goes for the Gold Cup and a clash with Aidan O'Brien's Leading Light.

"Royal Diamond is going for the Gold Cup," confirmed Murtagh.

"Leading Light is a staying horse and he looks stronger this year. Our horse likes the track, the trip is a question, but he is in good shape so we are looking forward to giving it a shot."

John Oxx is hoping ground conditions will be in keeping with the summer spectacular as he prepares My Titania for the Coronation Stakes on June 20.

The daughter of Sea The Stars has not run so far this season, being forced to miss the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket with a dirty scope and then having a rain-softened surface against her for the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, leading to her withdrawal.

Oxx said: "Fingers crossed she gets her ground at Ascot in the Coronation Stakes. You normally only get soft once in about 20 years, so hopefully she will get her ground."

My Titania won two of her three starts as a juvenile, with her form receiving a significant boost when Tarfasha finished second in the Investec Oaks on Friday as she had been six lengths behind Oxx's filly when third in the CL Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh last September.


Meanwhile, Australia has been given a performance rating of 123 by the British Horseracing Authority following his brilliant victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Having finished a close third in the 2,000 Guineas, Aidan O'Brien's colt brought the highest figure into the premier Classic on 119 and justified all the hype with an impressive display in the hands of the trainer's son, Joseph.

His 4lb rise means he has reached the same BHA rating as Sea The Stars was given immediately after his Derby victory five years ago.

However, his performance is rated below stable companion Camelot, which won the race in 2012, as well as 2010 winner Workforce.

Irish Independent

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