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Murtagh's Newbury double

JOHNNY Murtagh made a flying visit to Newbury pay rich dividends yesterday as he bagged a 54/1 double on two promising newcomers.

Both impressive debutantes are in the care of William Haggas, who will be hoping that his winner of the Whitley Stud Maiden Fillies' Stakes, Vow, can emulate his winner of last year's renewal -- 2011 Epsom Oaks heroine Dancing Rain.

The particularly soft ground necessitates a degree of caution to be applied to the form, but there looked to be a considerable amount of improvement to come from the half-sister to Beaten Up and Harris Tweed.

A promising placed finish appeared the best Murtagh could have hoped for, even with a furlong remaining, until Vow (11/2) reached full steam, passing rivals with abandon and eventually winning by a comfortable length.

Ladbrokes immediately offered her at 20/1 for the Oaks and Haggas' wife, Maureen, suggested she could return to the track for next month's Swettenham Stud Fillies' Trial, a race in which Dancing Rain was beaten. "I don't think the ground was ideal and she'll know she's had a race," she said.

Harry Herbert, managing director for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: "I'd imagine she'll go for an Oaks trial. If she proves she's able to go on to a higher stage (the Oaks), Johnny Murtagh said that he would like to ride her."

Vow was not the only smart newcomer to be introduced by Haggas on the card, with Sentaril (15/2) picking up runaway leader Ensejaam with consummate ease in the Coln Valley Stud Bridget Maiden Fillies' Stakes and bounding eight lengths clear.

Meanwhile, Roger Charlton has decided against running Top Offer in today's Aon Greenham Stakes at the track and the colt will instead head straight for next month's Newmarket 2,000 Guineas.

The Dansili colt created a huge impression on his debut last August but while he has been strongly backed for the Classic, Charlton feels the ground at the track is too soft.

At Ayr yesterday, Ruby Walsh rode a winner on his comeback from a five-day rest due to injury as he partnered The Knoxs to victory for Paul Nicholls.

Irish Independent