Murtagh injures neck


Sinndar's rider John Murtagh endured mixed fortunes on his return to domestic action at Fairyhouse yesterday when partnering a winner but also sustaining a neck injury.

Murtagh will have to pass Turf Club Medical Officer Walter Halley before riding at Thurles today after suffering "a muscular injury to his neck" when unseated from Tiergarten on the way to the start of the Clonalvey Handicap.

The Meathman was earlier in the winners' enclosure after the John Oxx-trained Pacific Union made a successful debut in division one of the Kilcloon EBF Maiden. Sheikh Mohammed's American-bred colt finished strongly to head Reina Blanca and the odds-on Snake Mountain inside the final 50 yards to score by half a length and a neck.

"He has been working well but was a bit off colour the last few weeks," said Oxx's assistant Jimmy O'Neill of the easy to back juvenile, before adding: "He may take his chance now in the Killavullan Stakes (Group 3) at Leopardstown (October 30th)."

There were an amazing 167 runners on this eight-race mixed card, and Tote punters suffered a shock in the opening Birch three-year-old Maiden Hurdle, where Bridgeofsighs swooped late under Paul Moloney. The Jessica Harrington-trained filly touched off La Shalak by a neck, and the 10 to 1 chance paid £93.50 on the machines.

Harrington later completed a double in division two of the two-year-old maiden with the well-backed Dance Till Dawn. The Sadler's Wells filly showed the benefit of her debut second behind subsequent Group 3 winner Imagine at Gowran Park, leading a furlong out for Fran Berry to beat the rallying favourite Snowflake by half a length. "She may go to Newmarket for a fillies Listed race," said Harrington afterwards.

James Burns, who like a number of trainers was at the yearling sales in Goffs at Kill, Co Kildare, recorded his first winner over hurdles when Powerswood took the Rossmore Maiden Hurdle in fine style. The five-year-old gelding was sent on half a mile out by Philip Carberry to beat Toolong by four and a half lengths.