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Dublin: -1°C Tuesday 2 March 2021

Rachael Blackmore claims biggest career success on Flat and Lord North wins feature at Ascot

There was racing at home at Limerick and Gowran Park today.

RACHAEL BLACKMORE FOLLOWED up her first Flat winner of the season with her biggest career success on the level, giving Oriental Eagle (18/1) a peach of a ride to spring a shock for trainer Emmet Mullins in the Listed Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick’s evening meeting.

rachael-blackmore-in-oriental-eagle-wins-the-martin-molony-stakes Rachael Blackmore in Oriental Eagle wins The Martin Molony Stakes Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

A dual group winner in Germany, Oriental Eagle produced his best performance since joining the Emmet Mullins string when garnering the Listed Martin Molony Stakes thanks to a brilliant bit of steering by Blackmore.

Just three days after misfiring at Leopardstown the five-year-old sat in second behind pacesetter Bold Approach. Blackmore edged her mount forward to take over turning into the straight but a previously-seen tendency to hang left made her task difficult.

The Killenaule pilot showed all her horsemanship to keep Oriental Eagle on the largely straight and narrow and he flew clear, with Pondus closing late to within a length, having not had a clear passage.

“It’s great to get an opportunity like this and fair play to Emmet” said Blackmore. “He had this horse very well tuned up for today.

“The plan was to sit last and completely switch him off but he jumped very well and we got a lovely lead going around and apart from hanging up the straight, he did it well.

“It’s just fantastic to get an opportunity like this and a big thanks to Emmet for putting me up today.”

Blackmore will be back in her natural environment when the NH season resumes at this venue next Monday.

“Bring on the jumps now! I’ve been down at Henry’s quite a bit. He has the yard in fantastic shape and really looking forward to getting some of them going again and seeing where we’re at.”

Weigh-room colleagues Ronan Whelan and Robbie Colgan made the trip back up the M8 with smiles on their faces face after recording doubles. Whelan provided his own navigational masterclass to take the It’s Good To Be Back At Limerick Handicap on Global Pass (9/2).

Ado McGuinness and his right-hand man Stephen Thorne have been recruiting astutely in recent years and Laugh A Minute (11/2) is another very smart purchase. Runner-up in a Group 3 when with Roger Varian just last year, the five-year-old was a ready winner of the Limerick Race to get Whelan off the mark.

Half Nutz (4/1) was a length-victor of the Well Done To All Frontline Staff Handicap for Colgan and Sheila Lavery, and the Meath rider was very strong in propelling Shanroe (11/1) to the front in the Patrickswell Maiden for older horses for Karl Thornton. Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordan combined to score in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for three-year-old fillies

Soaring Monarch (50/1) was the day’s biggest-priced winner but there was nothing flukey about his two-and-a-quarter-length defeat of favourite Stalingrad in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

At Gowran Park, trainer Johnny Murtagh and jockey Gary Carroll also scored twice. The opening MansionBet’s Beaten By A Head Handicap was an unfortunately appropriate title for Murtagh and especially jockey Nikita Kane, who was denied her first winner as Beauchamp Bagenal (12/1) refused to yield to Trueba.

It was, however, a race that trainer Barry Fitzgerald and jockey Luke McAteer will remember as it provided them with their first triumphs of the season. Consolation came quickly for Murtagh as So Suave (13/2) was delivered late by Danny Sheehy to swoop by Feminista and land the MansionBet Proud To Support Racing Handicap.

Murtagh made it four for the week in Division 1 of the Mansion Bet’s Paid As A Winner Handicap, where Mirann (9/1) marked his first run for the yard with a cheeky half-length win.

Carroll sealed his double in the second division and certainly earned it, thrusting the Mick Mulvany-prepped Ideal Pal a short head in front in the shadow of the post for Mick Mulvany. It was easier for Carroll as he teamed up with Joe Murphy and first-timer Collaborating (12/1) to score in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden for three-year-old colts and geldings.

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gary-carroll-onboard-collaborating-comes-home-to-win-ahead-of-shane-foley-onboard-castel-gandolfo Gary Carroll onboard Collaborating comes home to win ahead of Shane Foley onboard Castel Gandolfo Source: Caroline Norris/INPHO

The emergence a potential new star in the middle-distance division and a popular success for the Queen were the obvious highlights on the second day of Royal Ascot 2020.

Following what was a pulsating opening afternoon, the action at first glance appeared slightly less inspiring heading into Wednesday’s card, with the prestigious Prince of Wales’s Stakes very much the main attraction – and it was Lord North (5-1) who stole the show for John Gosden and James Doyle.

royal-ascot-day-two Lord North ridden by James Doyle wins the Prince Of Wales's Stakes during day two Source: MEGAN RIDGWELL

While a slow start set to the tone for an underwhelming performance from hot favourite Japan, nothing should be taken away from the dominant winner, who has progressed from Cambridgeshire winner to genuine top-notcher in less than nine months.

More top-level wins await the four-year-old gelding judged on this fleet-footed display, but whether Gosden will allow him take on his dual Arc-winning stablemate Enable in the Eclipse early next month remains to be seen.

Given the coronavirus pandemic has confined the Queen to Windsor Castle for this year’s Royal meeting – the first time she has missed attending the event in person during her 68-year-reign – it is perhaps fitting that the heavily-backed Tactical carried her colours to a gambled-on 7-2 victory in the Windsor Castle Stakes. That man Doyle did the steering on a day to remember.

Her Majesty was reportedly thrilled to see a horse she owned and bred strike gold in the style of one who will be more than comfortable in Group company later this summer.

Russian Emperor (100-30) may have earned himself a spot on Aidan O’Brien’s Investec Derby team after displaying class and courage in the Hampton Court Stakes under Ryan Moore, while the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum (12-1) might also be considered for Epsom after belying his inexperience to land the King George V Stakes – a fourth winner of the week for Jim Crowley.

William Knight’ Sir Busker and Mark Johnston’s Dark Vision were separated by just a head when first and second at Newcastle at the start of the month – and that form proved red-hot as the former won the Silver Royal Hunt Cup under champion jockey Oisin Murphy at 12-1 and Dark Vision (15-2) ended a long losing run in the Royal Hunt Cup itself, with William Buick the winning rider.

Fujaira Prince justified 3-1 favouritism in the concluding Copper Horse Handicap for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.

- Additional reporting by Press Association

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