Murtagh extends lead over Smullen


Johnny Murtagh and Pat Smullen got together before racing at Leopardstown to promote the finale of the 2009 Flat Championship. The battle is on for the professional title with Murtagh currently holding a lead of four winners over Smullen on 85 after partnering Don Carlos to victory in today’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

The Flat season finishes on Friday November 27th at Dundalk and there will be fitting celebrations for the last day of the campaign.

Murtagh said: “I would love to be champion jockey again as it has been a long time since I won the title, the championship is top of my mind. I’ll be going all out to win it between now and November 27th.”

The 2009 Horse Racing Ireland Ambassador has won the championship three times in his racing career, but the last time he held the trophy was as far back as 1998.

Smullen added: “I think it will go all the way to the wire, both Johnny and I are out to win it. I’m a few behind Johnny now and it’s not where I want to be.

“I hope to battle back and take the lead again. I say let the best man win and I hope it’ll be a great end to the season, especially for me!”

Elsewhere, Free Judgement made the most of a drop in class when running out a comfortable winner of the J.R.A. Killavullan Stakes.

Jim Bolger’s juvenile was sent off at 7-1 having finished down the field in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on his latest outing and travelled kindly in the hands of Kevin Manning.

Lord High Admiral proved a tough nut to crack at the head of affairs but Free Judgement gradually wore him down to score by two lengths.

Manning was also on target in the Jockey Club of Turkey Trigo Stakes as he guided Joanna Morgan’s Raise Your Heart to a battling success.

The 6-1 chance was brought through to challenge for the lead at the top of the straight and it soon became a two horse race with Tom Tate’s British challenger Distant Memories the only real threat.

The latter put up a determined display but Raise Your Heart found more for pressure and ran on strongly to score by two lengths.