Old dog Murtagh teaches Educate some new tricks

JOHNNY Murtagh has proved time and again this season that he has lost none of his magic and he landed yet another feature race when Educate gamely hung on in the dying strides to win the Betfred Cambridgeshire.

Hes still got it: Johnny Murtagh. Picture: Getty

Victory for the four-year-old, who had been considered unlucky in several other big handicaps this season, was by far the biggest British success in the career of Newmarket trainer Ismail Mohammed.

Murtagh had ridden Educate, sent off the 8-1 favourite for the first leg of the autumn double, at Haydock on his penultimate outing but he was nearly brought down in the straight before staying on to finish third. Since then he was slightly out of his depth in Celebration Mile, but not totally disgraced when fifth behind Afsare.

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Murtagh kicked to the front two furlongs out and, although his mount drifted across the track, he had enough in reserve to hold the late charge of Henry Candy’s Code Of Honor by a short head. The first two ended up in the centre of the track, with Tres Coronas third on the far side and Graphic fourth on the near rail.

Murtagh began training earlier this year but was top jockey at Royal Ascot and has also won the King George and Haydock Sprint Cup this season, among several other big races.

“I had to commit a bit sooner than I wanted to and was in front half a furlong too soon,” said Murtagh. “It was a brilliant performance with a lot of weight. He was a class horse in a handicap.

“I can’t really believe it – you couldn’t write it. When opportunities come your way, you’ve got to take them. That is what I’ve been doing the last couple of months.”