Murtagh injury keeps him out of Ebor meeting

The injuries Johnny Murtagh picked up at the weekend in a fall at the Curragh have ruled him out for the next three weeks. As a result, he’ll miss out on several promising rides at next week’s Ebor meeting.

Murtagh has a hairline fracture to a small bone under an eye. It was an unusual incident that has sidelined him, after his mount Lottie Dod kicked him during the preliminaries to the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on Sunday.

The break (in both senses) was confirmed by Murtagh’s agent Eddie Byrne, following the jockey’s visit to Professor Lee Stassen at St James’s Hospital in Dublin yesterday. Murtagh had hoped he would get the all clear to start riding again this weekend, but Byrne revealed, “I’ve spoken to Johnny and obviously he won’t be riding at York next week. The situation will be reviewed in early September when he sees a specialist again in three weeks’ time. Johnny has to wait until the bone under his eye heals.”

Murtagh said, “It’s a pity as I was looking forward to some good rides there (at York), including Saddler’s Rock in the Lonsdale Cup, Sole Power in the Nunthorpe, Dancing Rain and Thomas Chippendale.”

The trainers of Saddler’s Rock and Sole Power have been quick to call on the services of jockeys who have ridden their horses to success previously. Edward Lynam has called up Wayne Lordan to see if his partnership with Sole Power can repeat their success in the Nunthorpe of two years ago. Then, Sole Power caused on of the upsets of the season, coming home at 100/1. There will be no repeat of those odds this time round; he’s currently 8/1 in the market, behind Bated Breath, Australian challenger Ortensia and Pearl Secret.

Niall McCullagh rode Saddler’s Rock to victory in last season’s Doncaster Cup, so John Oxx has wasted no time in snapping up his services again, and will be using him at Newbury in Saturday’s Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes on Alanza. They’ll be up against Chachamaidee and Libranno, first two home at the end of last month in Goodwood’s Lennox Stakes.

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