Murtagh pushes Hartani home

Those who helped thump John Oxx’s Hartani from a morning price as high as 100-30 to 6-4 had more than their fair share of anxious moments before going to collect in the Maiden at Tipperary last night.

The grey son of Shiroccco was soon in front and headed for the two furlong pole at least six lengths clear and with the contest, apparently, wrapped up.

For a few strides Johnny Murtagh appeared to take it a trifle easy on the eventual winner and treated himself to a glance behind.

What he saw terrified him and, indeed, those who were starting the join the queue to get paid.

The heavily-backed Aidan O’Brien-trained newcomer, the Montjeu colt Offer, who was struggling fully half a mile out, was now in full flow.

Murtagh, realising the danger, quickly got down to work and Hartani found plenty for much needed pressure. He stuck his head out one more time and was half a length to the good at the line, although greatly helped by the fact that Offer went in behind him with half a furlong to cover.

Oxx was represented by his assistant, Jimmy O’Neill, who said: “He came on well from his first run at the Curragh. He will handle genuine good ground and we will now see what the handicapper does with him.”

Oxx completed a double when his first-timer, Ebalviyra, turned over another O’Brien hot-pot, Chicago, in the Events At Tipperary Racecourse Maiden.

The pair had it between them from the furlong pole, with Ebalviyra powering clear to win with nice bit in hand at the end.

Commented O’Neill: “That’s a bit of a surprise, we didn’t think she’d like the ground. A mile and a quarter is probably her trip at the moment, but she will get a mile and a half.”

The stewards inquired into possible interference in the last furlong, but that was a total waste of time and there was never the remotest chance of a change in the placings.

The rapidly improving Brog Deas completed a hat-trick of successes when easily taking the Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Handicap.

He powered ahead in the straight and was far too strong for Danequest, by a comfortable three lengths.

Said trainer Pat Flynn: “He’s a very nice horse and, though it might be ambitious, I have Royal Ascot in mind for him.”

Paddy Prendergast’s Canary Row was the one punters wanted in the three-horse Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Race and did the business with the minimum of fuss.

Niall McCullagh pushed him ahead over a furlong down and the diminutive son of Holy Roman Emperor eased clear to score by a snug two and three parts of a length.

“He wants six or seven furlongs and the only reason he came here over five was the heavy ground,” reported Prendergast. “He will get an entry in the Marble Hill (Curragh), but will only run if the ground is soft.”

The hitherto frustrating Srucahan redeemed the promise of his previous effort at Naas with an easy win in the Racing At Tipperary Maiden.

Srucahan made all the running and only had to be pushed out by Chris Hayes to beat September Lily.

Trainer Paul Deegan said: “The ground is the key, he loves to get his toe in. He is what he is, but is going the right way.”

Gordon Lord Byron, a decent money-spinner for the Tom Hogan yard, put up a good effort to defy 9-10 in the Join The Tipperary Races Supporters’ club Handicap.

Powerfully handled by Fran Berry, he surged ahead inside the furlong pole to beat Luisant by half a length.

“He would not be a lover of that ground, but has a bit of class and will go for another handicap,” said Hogan.

Rock Critic, a somewhat uneasy odds-on shot, totally outclassed the opposition in the Follow @TipperaryRaces On Twitter Race.

Dermot Weld’s admirable seven-year-old made all the running and Pat Smullen only had to nudge him out in the closing stages to score with any amount in hand.


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