Murtagh’s flying visit to Lingfield pays dividends

Jeremy Noseda’s decision to fly Johnny Murtagh over to Lingfield yesterday to partner Valbchek suggested the colt took a high rank in his stable, and there was no reason to doubt the trainer after the Play Mobile Bingo With Maiden Stakes.

Murtagh is often used by Noseda on the big occasion and the discernable buzz about Murtagh’s for just the one ride saw Valbchek sent off the 4-11 favourite on his racecourse debut.

He pulled very hard through the first half of the six-furlong heat and appeared inexperienced when asked by Murtagh to challenge in the home straight.

Valbchek was left in the lead when Aurens jinked and unshipped Adam Beschizza approaching the furlong pole, but he quickly created a gap of two and three-quarter lengths without Murtagh asking a serious question.

Noseda is not likely to stretch the son of Acclamation’s stamina in order to enter the equation for a 2000 Guineas, but he will take another imminent step up in class.

“The owners have been very patient as I liked him last season but he had some niggly problems,” said Noseda.

“The way I’m thinking he’s a sprinter – seven furlongs, absolute tops – and that suggested he was a sprinter.”

Asked whether Valbchek could appear next at the Newmarket Craven meeting, Noseda replied: “If I’m happy when I get him home.

“There is a race I had in mind. We’ll see how he moves forward.”

Murtagh added: “Jeremy had said he was a nice horse who had been working well.

“There’s a bit to work on, and he’ll come on for the run but he’s got plenty of ability.

“I’m just trying to get on as many good horses as I can and when Jeremy rings up asking me to ride one, he’s usually right.”

Strictly Pink had been Cathy Gannon’s first competitive ride since breaking a leg in October when third at the course last Friday and the filly did the Irishwoman another good turn by providing a comeback winner.

Alan Bailey’s 11-4 favourite made every yard of the running in the Instant Play Slots On Fillies’ Handicap.

“I was out for six months and it was a very frustrating time, so it’s great to be back with a bang,” said Gannon.

“Hopefully there’ll be plenty more winners to come.”

Red Somerset (6-5 favourite), who had landed three sellers in a row before badly missing the break and finishing second at Kempton last Thursday, restored his sequence with a late flurry in the Jackpot Surprise Selling Stakes.


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