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Murtagh sights set on autumn campaign for Earlswood

Earlswood is on a summer break following his decent effort when fourth to Hurricane Lane in the Irish Derby.

The son of Pivotal had a troubled passage in the colts’ Classic at the Curragh yet belied his odds of 28-1 with a big run.

He had earned his place in that exalted line-up by winning the Group Three Gallinule Stakes at the same track in May.

“He’s good and has gone on a little break,” said Murtagh.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go with him. We’re going to speak to the owner and get a plan for the autumn.”

Earlswood holds an entry in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger back at the Curragh in September.

Murtagh is also allowing sprinter Urban Beat a holiday after ending a busy spell with a creditable third to Winter Power in the City Walls Stakes at York on Saturday.

“He ran well. The filly that won (Winter Power) looked good,” said the County Kildare handler.

“We’re going to give him a break now. He’s been busy so we’re going to give him a break and freshen him up and get him back in the autumn.”

Murtagh revealed Fourhometwo has left his yard to continue his career in Australia.

The Ajaya gelding ended his spell with Murtagh on a high by winning the Listed Celebration Stakes at the Curragh.

“The owners have taken him to Australia and he’s going to continue his career out there,” he said.

Urban Beat hits right note in Rockingham Handicap

Urban Beat defied top weight and a seemingly unfavourable draw to win the €100,000 Paddy Power Rockingham Handicap at the Curragh.

Johnny Murtagh’s charge was the class act of the race being a Group Three winner at Dundalk in October, but had been below that level of form in three outings this term.

Sent off a 9-1 chance under Ben Coen – still on the crest of a wave following his Royal Ascot win aboard Murtagh’s Create Belief – the six-year-old was one of only three runners to keep to the near side rail.

Coen was keen to grab the initiative and it appeared that he never relinquished it, as two lengths up with two furlongs to run Urban Beat kept to his task willingly and was never challenged.

On the far side there were a host in with chances, with Master Matt coming out best, but two lengths behind the winner. Jungle Jane was third.

“We said we’d let him bowl along, in handicap company,” said Coen.

“He jumped, pinged the gates, travelled with me and quickened up from two down.

“He got a bit lonely in the last 50 yards, but that’s expected as it’s a lonely place when you are in front that long.

“He had to be hardy and he was. I’m delighted as he’s a deadly horse, everyone loves him in the yard so it’s nice to get his head in front.”

Atomic Jones (striped cap) comes out on top in a blanket finish
Atomic Jones (striped cap) comes out on top in a blanket finish (PA Wire)

Ger Lyons trained another first-time-out juvenile winner when Atomic Jones (11-2) prevailed in a blanket finish to the Barronstown Stud Irish EBF (C&G) Maiden.

The result may have been different, however, if Shane Crosse had managed to find racing room a stride earlier on Joseph O’Brien’s Point Gellibrand, who was all dressed up with nowhere to go for most of the final furlong.

As soon as he got out Point Gellibrand flew, but failed by a short head with Shark Bay just a nose away in third.

“We’re very happy with him, he’s a big raw horse and he came here to have a day out and to improve,” said assistant trainer Shane Lyons.

“Obviously he has ability to be able to do that. Colin (Keane) said he loved the ground and he’ll be a lovely horse over a trip next year.

“He’s a fine big horse and like one of ours he will improve so we’ll take it from there.”

Leigh Roche excelled on Michael O’Callaghan’s Fastnet Crown (13-2) in the Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes Handicap.

Fastnet Crown (right) and Leigh Roche arrived late on the scene
Fastnet Crown (right) and Leigh Roche arrived late on the scene (PA Wire)

Last in the early stages on the near side, Roche managed to make his way over to the far-side group before coming clear to beat Goodnight Girl by three-quarters of a length.

“He’s so lazy throughout the race that you are always on the back foot,” said Roche.

“I just got there and luckily enough I had something to aim at all the way up the straight.

“He did it well, he shows plenty of ability at home but he just throws it away in the first half of races. It takes him three furlongs to get going and when he gets going he motors home. He was good today.”

Effernock Fizz caused a 22-1 shock in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Ragusa” Handicap to provide trainer Katy Brown and Niall McCullagh with a winner.

Effernock Fizz made all the running to land a big pot
Effernock Fizz made all the running to land a big pot (PA Wire)

“She’s been a revelation for us,” said Brown.

“She’s run in a nice handicap here for the past two years and I said to myself ‘there’s no group horse in it this year to beat her’ as last year she was beaten by Mighty Blue and the year before by Kastasa.

“She’s entered for the Grade Three Grimes Hurdle on Thursday and we’ll see how she comes out of this. She was fourth in it last year and if she’s OK she’ll go for it again.”

On a day when both Aidan and Joseph O’Brien saddled winners, Donnacha made sure he did not leave empty handed when Emporio (15-8 favourite) got off the mark in the Finlay Volvo Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden.