Monday 19 February 2018

Murtagh takes Gowran prize as Duchess delivers

Trainer Johnny Murtagh. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Johnny Murtagh. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Duchess Andorra claimed a tenacious victory for Curragh trainer Johnny Murtagh in the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes at Gowran Park yesterday.

Having raced on the front end throughout, Colin Keane's mount displayed great courage in the testing conditions to fight off the majority of her rivals in the straight.

Laganore came from out of the pack to throw down a major challenge inside the final furlong and the pair flashed by the post almost as one, but the judge called Duchess Andorra the winner by a short head.

The Michael Stoute-trained Intimation was not far away in third, but Dermot Weld's 5/2 favourite Discipline proved bitterly disappointing.

The 16/1 winner was formerly trained by the now retired Joanna Morgan, for whom she won in the snow at St Moritz.

Murtagh said: "It's a long way from St Moritz! The whole aim this year was to get a bit of black type. I have great belief in her when conditions are like that and I think that's the ideal trip for her (nine furlongs)."

Both Keane and Murtagh went on to complete doubles - with the jockey partnering the Liz Doyle-trained Annie Irish (10/1) to victory in the second division of the one-mile handicap, while Murtagh completed his 101/1 brace courtesy of Pacodali's (5/1) success under Billy Lee in the closing maiden.

Earlier, Rekindling confirmed debut promise on his second competitive start in the one-mile maiden for juveniles.

The son of High Chaparral was runner-up to the exciting Capri on his introduction at the Galway Festival and was 7/1 to go one better for soon-to-retire trainer David Wachman and jockey Wayne Lordan.

Leopardstown second World War and Curragh third Grandee tried to make a race of it inside the closing stages, but Rekindling saw them off by two-and-a-half lengths and half-a-length respectively.

The Weld-trained Rich History was a disappointing 9/4 favourite. The son of Dubawi is a half-brother to Free Eagle, the yard's Royal Ascot hero last season, and also counts talented pair Custom Cut and Sapphire as siblings, but he was ultimately well beaten.


Weld and his jockey Pat Smullen enjoyed better fortune in the maiden for two-year-old fillies as Queen Anne's Lace produced a dominant display to make a winning debut.

Smullen edged Queen Anne's Lace to the front shortly after the home turn and once let down, she stretched clear impressively to score by four-and-a-half lengths. The experienced Bound was second, with 11/8 favourite Wayside Flower only third.

Weld and Smullen also left the track with a brace after the Aga Khan-owned Massayan (3/1) added to his Galway gains with a head defeat of Moonmeister in the Rated Race.

"He's a very tough, genuine colt," said the trainer. "He battled hard to win in Galway and he battled hard to win again. It was a good performance. He'll maybe go for a handicap now."

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