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Murtagh ready to make Major impact


Johnny Murtagh. Photo: Getty Images

Johnny Murtagh. Photo: Getty Images

Johnny Murtagh. Photo: Getty Images

The exceptional Johnny Murtagh could be the man to keep on side at Dundalk tonight.

Unlucky not to bag a first Group One of 2012 when Sole Power was touched off at Meydan on Saturday, the reigning champion jockey has five spins on a seven-race programme of mixed quality with Mutiska and Ursa Major tipped to score for the Meath native.

The Tommy Carmody-trained Ursa Major stayed on well from over the pace when second to the useful looking China One on its first racecourse outing last month.

On the presumption that he will have improved some bit for that, he is napped to land this 10-runner heat.

Of his rivals, Dermot Weld's Voleuse De Coeurs may be the biggest danger. Third to Akeed Wafi and Rigoletta on its racecourse bow at Gowran Park last year before struggling in slower ground at Navan, the Teofilo filly could have a touch of class.

Murtagh rides Mutiska for Kilcullen handler Jeremy Hayden in the two-mile handicap. Having finished third to Regal Tramp two weeks ago, a race-fit The Frog Prince could take plenty beating, but is unproven over this extended trip.

Mutiska has no such worry on that score, with previous placed efforts over up to two and a quarter miles. In a middling contest, she could well be good enough.

The one horse that promises some genuine quality at the fixture is Up in the Irish Stallion Farms Fillies' Race.

Just four line out in this, with Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old, fourth at the Breeders' Cup meeting in November, 8lb clear on official ratings.

When you factor in weight concessions, the half-sister to Dutch Art has between 18lb and 26lb in hand over her three opponents. As a winner here in September, then, she is going to take plenty stopping under the trainer's young son Joseph.

In the www.dundalkstadium.com handicap, Solent Ridge is fancied to improve on an encouraging third-place finish at Leopardstown a week ago. With the useful 10lb claimer Megan Carberry booked, Ger Lyons' runner has a negligible 8st to carry.

Irish Independent