Tuesday 20 February 2018

Murtagh opts to ride King of Rome in Derby

Marcus Armytage

JOHNNY MURTAGH has opted to ride King of Rome in Saturday's Vodafone Derby.

That means Mick Kinane will partner Dante runner-up Frozen Fire.

Both have ridden Derby winners for Ballydoyle before.

Explaining his choice, Murtagh said: "It was a hard decision. They are all going well and the trainer is very pleased with them.

"I thought after the Dante that Frozen Fire would be the one, but after his last two pieces of work, King of Rome is the one who has given me the best feel. I'm very hopeful."

Alessandro Volta, who beat King of Rome in the Lingfield Derby Trial, will be ridden by Colm O'Donoghue, Washington Irvine by Seamus Heffernan and Bashkirov by David McCabe.

A make-or-break gallop in Newmarket this morning will determine whether Tajaaweed is to take his chance in the Vodafone Derby on Saturday.

Having spent Tuesday confined to his box, Tajaaweed was successfully reshod yesterday morning. That detail alone will encourage supporters of the Dee Stakes winner, who has been well backed over the last week.

"We got the shoe back on this morning," Stoute said yesterday, "and the horse will do some work tomorrow. All we can do is hope that he is OK."

The intended mount of Richard Hills, Tajaaweed is as short as 13/2 to land the Blue Riband. Any setback so close to the big occasion is unwelcome, although the son of Dynaformer had completed all his fast work before he shed the offending shoe.

An uneventful return from the Heath will see Tajaaweed join Tartan Bearer and Doctor Fremantle in a three-pronged assault from Stoute's Freemason Lodge Stables.

Ryan Moore has elected to ride Tartan Bearer over Doctor Fremantle, with Stoute content to leave the decision to his stable jockey.

Aidan O'Brien will saddle six of the 16 fillies in the Juddmonte Oaks tomorrow, with Murtagh having elected to partner Adored over Sail, for whom Moore has been booked.

Lush Lashes and Chinese White give Ireland an inviting hand in a season when British stables have yet to win any of the six front-line classics run in Europe.

Also at Epsom tomorrow, Murtagh will be reunited with Soldier Of Fortune in the Juddmonte Coronation Cup.

Getaway will start a warm favourite to give Andre Fabre a seventh victory in the race.

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