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Murtagh set to return in style on Sherzam


Johnny Murtagh.

Johnny Murtagh.

Johnny Murtagh.

A WEEK after learning of his dismissal from his position as the Aga Khan's retained rider in Ireland, Johnny Murtagh returns to action with one ride for Tommy Carmody at Gowran Park today.

The reigning champion jockey has not ridden since suffering a facial injury at the Curragh on August 12 but returns here to take the mount on Sherzam in the nursery for the burgeoning stable, with whom his close association is believed to have been the catalyst for his shock sacking.

Having finished a fine second on its handicap bow in testing going at the Curragh recently, the Andrew Tinkler-owned filly is fancied to see him return on a positive note.

Earlier, John Oxx -- who has stated that he will continue to support Murtagh over the coming months via non-Aga Khan owned horses -- might take the juvenile maiden with the Swiss-born prince's Akdam.

Oxx has a decent bunch of two-year-olds this term, and this Dubai Destination half-brother to the useful Aklan should be thereabouts under Niall McCullagh.

Impressive apprentice Conor Hoban, a native of Westport, can add to the weekend football exploits of his home county by landing the nap on Coach Bombay.

The 19-year-old boasts a seven-strong book of rides tonight, with Coach Bombay surely the pick of the lot after an emphatic seven-and-a-half-length rout under Shane 'Dusty' Foley at Dundalk last Sunday.

He reappears now over the same 12-furlong trip in division one of the Goresbridge Handicap, and Mick Halford has opted to negate a compulsory 5lb penalty by booking Hoban.


Given the manner of Sunday's triumph, you'd struggle to make a case against Coach Bombay on ground that should be pretty close to good by the time racing gets under way.

Of his 15 rivals, Sheilas Wish, successful at Wexford a fortnight ago, looks the danger.

Hoban could follow up on Sian in division two. Second to Sheilas Wish on stepping up to this trip for a first time, the Prunella Dobbs-trained three-year-old is progressing in the right direction, and a solid effort from Sheilas Wish would obviously recommend her further.

Irish Independent