Bohermeen man Johnny Murtagh only saddled his first winner at Trammore on Saturday 1st June this year, but his amazing season continued at Ascot on Saturday when he added another big race winner to his tally.
This time he also had the extra satisfaction of partnering the Andrew Tinkler-owned Royal Diamond to victory in the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup in the opneing race on the card ahead of Harris Tweed.
Amazingly, Royal Diamond was sent off at 20/1 after a disappointing run in the St Leger at the Curragh a month ago.
However, yesterday at Ascot all that changed as the Meath jockey / trainer made up late ground to pounce by a nose right on the line, with another three-quarters of a length to Eye Of The Storm in third.
“This is the best day of my life,” commented the Meath man who has know many big days in a glittering career that has included wins in the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, the Arc.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me the horse and trusting me with him.
“He’s been a brilliant horse from day one, I’m privileged to ride so many great horses, but it’s all about my staff and my team.
He’s all heart, this horse,” added the Meath man who also had a winner at Cork when Rich Coast, also owned by Tinkler, landed the Listed Navigation Stakes for Niall McCullagh at the expense of Murtagh’s close friend, Ger Lyons, who had to be content with second place for Brendan Brackan partnered by Trim teenager Colin Keane.
Dublin man Eddie Lynam, who must now be regarded as a Meath man based at his fine facility near Dunshaughlin added a real Royal County flavour to the big day at Ascot when he won the second race with Slade Power from Jack Dexter in an exciting finish to the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes.
Lynam, who won the King’s Stand Stakes with Sole Power at Royal Ascot in June, also saddled the third home, Viztoria.
Slade Power (7/1) was always prominent under Wayne Lordan and won by a neck with Viztoria three and a quarter lengths away in third.
Lynam had a third runner in the race, the Derek Iceton-owned Balmont Mast which finished out of the money with Johnny Murtagh on board while Moynalty man Declan McDonogh was also out of luck on his recent French winner Maarek.
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