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Derby options for Earlswood following Gallinule success

Earlswood emerged as a potential Derby contender after claiming victory in the Heider Family Stables Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh.

The Pivotal colt joined Johnny Murtagh following the retirement of former trainer John Oxx, since when he had opened his account at Navan before finishing third in the Dee Stakes at Chester.

Stepping up to Group Three level, the three-year-old travelled strongly in the hands of Ben Coen for much of the 10-furlong contest.

Once asked to extend, the 11-2 winner soon settled matters and came home with a length and three-quarters in hand over Arturo Toscanini.

Betfair halved his odds to 33-1 for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom on June 5.

Murtagh said: “He’s entered at Epsom, but there is free entry into the Irish Derby after winning this race so that’s another option.

“I’ll talk with the owner and we’ll decide what to do.”

Coen was delighted to ride his first Group-race winner of the season.

“He’s good and hardy. Chester was probably a bit tight for him the last day. It’s a big galloping track here and he loved the ground,” said the jockey.

“It was great to get a horse like that into the yard after John Oxx retired and it’s brilliant to get a new owner into the yard as well.”

Seamie Heffernan was banned for six days for using his whip with excessive frequency aboard fifth-placed Matchless.