Mour the merrier for Oxx

Mourayan staked his own bid for Classic glory in 2009 among trainer John Oxx’s team with a cosy win at Leopardstown.

Mourayan staked his own bid for Classic glory in 2009 among trainer John Oxx’s team with a cosy win at Leopardstown.

The Alhaarth colt took the Listed Eyrefield Stakes to earn a quote of 25-1 with William Hill for the Epsom Derby.

He had finished runner-up to his stablemate Sea The Stars – 10-1 second-favourite for the Epsom Classic – in the Group Two Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on his previous start.

After Mark Johnston’s filly Shady Lady had set the pace, Mourayan swept into the lead over a furlong out and soon shot clear.

Mick Kinane was not hard on the 4-6 shot in the closing stages as he scored by two lengths form Oh Goodness Me with Aristocrat third.

“He’s a nice horse. We were hoping he would win like that and it is nice that he did,” said Oxx.

“He is very lazy, quite idle. He had a lot of daylight and I was worried he would fall asleep when he hit the front. But he had done enough and I was very happy with him.

“It is nice to see the (Beresford) form upheld. They are two good horses. It is a long winter, you have to hope all goes well, they (two-year-olds) have to keep improving.

“It is never enough to win Group races at two, they have to keep on improving to be near the top of the tree next year.”

Kinane completed a double with victory on Dolphin Bay (11-1) in the concluding Ravens Rock Handicap for James Burns, while talented apprentice Paul Townend also enjoyed a brace.

His wins came on the Charles Byrnes-trained Solwhit (9-4 favourite) in the Leopardstown November Handicap and Alone He Stands (13-2) in the Heather Road Handicap.

Pocket-sized Almass (11-4) maintained her improvement by recording her sixth win of the season and her second at Listed level in the Knockaire Stakes.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s filly scooted clear of her rivals in the final furlong to beat Girouette by four lengths with British raider Al Qasi, who looked unlucky in running, third.

Winning trainer Kevin Prendergast said: “She’s only the size of a little pony, but she’s got a brave heart.

“She’s shown great improvement since winning her maiden at Dundalk. This was her sixth success of the season and her second Listed race.

“No final decision has been made on whether she will stay in training but the vibes are good that she will. If she does we’ll aim her at the Gladness Stakes next year.”

David Wachman is in America for the Keeneland Sales and so missed a double for his stable with Oasis Sunset (10-1) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden and Chorus Of Angels (14-1) in the ISF EBF Premier Nursery Handicap.

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