Fitting Hamilton winner on day Murray rewarded

ONE of racing's unsung heroes, Glaswegian David Murray, was at Hamilton yesterday to receive the Lifetime in Racing Award recognizing his contribution to the sport over the past 37 years.

Born in Maryhill in 1957, Murray embarked upon his career in racing with Tommy Craig at Dunbar aged 16 and had more than 50 rides as a jockey, sadly never riding a winner, before graduating to the training ranks.

He joined top Newmarket handler Michael Bell as a groom and has enjoyed more than two decades of success. Murray led up Bell's first ever winner, which also happened to be his first Group winner, called Pass the Piece in the Fred Darling Stakes. In 2010 this leading yard - which won the 2005 Derby with Motivator - celebrated its 1,000th winner. Other notable horses Murray has been involved with from the Bell yard include the Oaks winning wonder filly Sariska. Vivien Kyles, chief executive of Hamilton Park, said: "People like David Murray are the backbone of racing and without him and the others working behind the scenes, there would be no day at the races."

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Fittingly, Bell was among the winners at Hamilton as evens-favourite Ming Men won the six-furlong maiden for jockey Micky Fenton. Other winning favourites included Hortensia (2-5) in the opening claimer and Graceful Descent (5-4) who triumphed for Jim Goldie in the Gelngoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Handicap.

The race named in Murray's honour was won by Eye For The Girls, like Hortensia trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Sam Hitchcott, which drifted to generous odds of 11-2.

At Kempton, Secrecy, Godolphin's apparent second string, outflanked better-fancied stablemate Sirocco Breeze (15-8) in the EBF Conditions Stakes. The latter had an extraordinary ride under Frankie Dettori after being fleetingly rooted to the spot once the stalls opened, losing eight lengths. The 7-4 favourite's response under pressure was exemplary, however, as Dettori's mount somehow clawed back the arrears - and even zipped into the lead inside the final furlong. But Dettori had not counted on a late, decisive run from Secrecy under Ted Durcan.