Taking on Ballydoyle with a 194-1 double: Murtagh sends two runners to Chester

Champers Elysees and Colin Keane winning the Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron Stakes

Johnny started his racing career on the Curragh in 1987, the year I was born. He was Champion apprentice in 1988 and Irish Champion jockey five times. He amassed 106 Group winners and over 3,000 winners in what was a glittering career.

Once his riding career was over, he wanted to take up the mantle himself and become a trainer. He has the belief in himself to train top winners and had a very successful season last year.

The Group 1 winning trainer sends two horses over to the Chester May Meeting on Thursday and both are tasty prices. Make no mistake about it, Johnny is not here to take part, he is here to take over. Let’s take a look at the two horses in question.


2.15 Chester

By Pivotal, Earlswood is a very likeable type who finished off his short spell with John Oxx on the Curragh last November. He was a close-up third to Arturo Toscanini on that occasion but the 4th, Sir Lamorak, has won twice since.

On his first start for Murtagh, he showed plenty of class to win his Navan maiden in style. Although this is a big step in class and more is required, the step up in trip should bring out plenty of improvement.


3.15 Chester

Aidan O’Brien’s Japan was a dual Group 1 winner in 2019 and will take all the beating if he is anywhere near his best. However, Murtagh’s Sonnyboyliston deserves to take his chance. He beat Thundering Nights in a handicap on the Curragh last summer and that horse was narrowly beaten in a Group 3 behind Broome last month. That horse also beat Albigna in a Group 3 last year so the form looks rock solid.

Johnny’s horse won a €125,000 handicap on the Curragh in September by over four lengths. He wasn’t disgraced on his return when third behind Broome and will appreciate the rain that has fallen. He’s a big player.


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