Sunday 17 December 2017

Murtagh's delight at Mutual Ebor victory

Louis Steward celebrates his victory at York yesterday. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Louis Steward celebrates his victory at York yesterday. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Mutual Regard gave ex-jockey Johnny Murtagh a headline winner as a trainer with victory in the Betfred Ebor at York yesterday.

Given a cool ride by 5lb claimer Louis Steward, the 20/1 chance was handy just off the pace, cut out by Dare To Achieve, with Retirement Plan and Mighty Yar others towards the fore early on.

Spotted moving strongly down the straight in his cheekpieces, Steward eased to the front inside the two-furlong marker and had enough in the tank to win a battle with Van Percy by a length and a quarter.

Elidor was third and the heavily-backed 9/2 favourite Pallasator ran a big race to be fourth from his wide draw in stall 22. To increase the pain for Pallasator's handler, Mark Prescott, the Newmarket baronet used to train Mutual Regard before he was sold to Andrew Tinkler.

Steward said: "It's amazing and I'd like to thank Mr Murtagh and Mr Tinkler for giving me the opportunity. At such an early stage in my career, it's such a privilege to ride in a race like that.

"I probably hit the front a bit too soon, but when the horses came to me, he really quickened.

"He fought all the way to the line and made my job a lot easier in the end. I'm so pleased."

Murtagh said: "I never won this race as a jockey, but I was second a few times. This lad had been going well at home, he got put up 11lb for winning first time out and I ran him in a Group Three last time and he ran a nice race behind Pale Mimosa.

"I thought a fast pace and one-mile-six would suit him and Louis gave him a lovely ride.

"I wanted Ross Coakley to ride, but he's suspended - Andrew looked at the stats and said, 'This lad (Steward) is red hot'. He's a Moyglare Stud-bred horse and they get better as they get older. Ascot might be on his agenda now, but we'll see about the Melbourne Cup."

Muhaarar lunged late to take a thrilling Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes.

Mark Johnston's Jungle Cat had made a valiant bid to make all in the historic Group Two and Silvestre de Sousa was in no mood to be passed as the challengers loomed. Not among them at the business end was Royal Ascot winner Baitha Alga, for whom the writing was on the wall some way out.

As Jungle Cat was joined by Muhaarar (7/1) on one side and Ahlan Emarati on the other, it looked like he might be swallowed up, but it was only in the last stride that Paul Hanagan's mount put his head in front. A nose was the official winning margin for the Charlie Hills-trained son of Oasis Dream.

Jamie Spencer ended a turbulent week with a last-gasp victory on David Brown's Mind Of Madness in the Julia Graves Roses Stakes.

At the Curragh, the David Marnane-trained Jamesie got a deserved big-race win as he just got the better of Gordon Lord Byron in the feature Group Three Renaissance Stakes.

Sunday Independent

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