Winning start for Murtagh


Racing:Mesariya gave Johnny Murtagh a winning start back as number one jockey to the Aga Khan and John Oxx when making a successful debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Leopardstown.

Showing no signs of jet lag after riding in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday night, Murtagh enjoyed a comfortable victory on the promising daughter of Sinndar.

He brought the 6-1 shot with a smooth run on the outside to lead inside the final furlong and score by a length from Siren’s Song, with Eva’s Time half a length third as Oxx saddled the winner of this race for the third year running.

“That looked a good maiden — a nice race," Oxx said. "She is by Sinndar which gives her the stamina but she is out of a Cadeaux Genereux mare who was a seven-furlong filly.

“We don’t have a strong programme here for the likes of her, but the Salsabil Stakes at Navan in three weeks’ time is an option. We got a rush of blood and entered her for the Guineas and Oaks lately and that doesn’t look too stupid now.”

Dunboyne Express enjoyed a facile success in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial after his main market rival Cocozza was taken out at the start.

Cocozza was withdrawn after causing trouble in the stalls which delayed the start by nearly 10 minutes to shatter Oxx and Murtagh’s chances of a quick double, with no time to reform the betting market

Whipless made the running from Exodus with Dunboyne Express, the 5-4 favourite, last of the three starters. The order stayed the same until the short straight where Declan McDonogh pounced aboard Kevin Prendergast’s charge.

The race was settled in a matter of strides as the 2000 Guineas entry, who lost his 100 per cent record in the Racing Post Trophy on his third and final start last season, strode away to win a length and three-quarters from Exodus.

There was a deduction of 40p in the pound on all bets.

Prendergast said: “That was a satisfactory performance. He did it well but it would have been nice if the other horse had run. That wasn’t to be, though.

“The run should bring him on a good bit and the run of Master Of Hounds yesterday (had form with Dunboyne Express as a two-year-old and second at Meydan) was no harm. He wasn’t right before Doncaster and he had colic after it.”