Trainer Johnny Murtagh wins Ebor Handicap at York Racecourse with Mutual Regard

Mutual Regard wins the Betfred Ebor on Knavesmire

Mutual Regard wins the Betfred Ebor on Knavesmire

First published in Sport
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JOHNNY MURTAGH never won the Betfred Ebor at York Racecourse as a jockey but Mutual Regard ensured Europe’s richest handicap came his way in his first season as a trainer since quitting the saddle.

Five pound claimer Louis Steward was a cool customer on board the 20-1 shot, bringing the five-year-old to the front just inside the two furlong marker and seeing off Van Percy by a length and a quarter in the £265,000 contest.

The latter did his best to get on terms as the line approached but Mutual Regard pulled out a little bit extra to make it a dream day for his apprentice rider.

Steward said: “I was sat looking forward to it all week and I had a winner at Hamilton on Friday, which boosted my confidence.

“It was amazing. Just to ride for Mr Murtagh was amazing. I had a little funny feeling. I was thinking to myself on the way up here ‘what if?’ It worked and it was amazing.”

He added: “At such an early stage in my career it's such a privilege to ride in a race like that. Mr Murtagh just said ‘don't worry where you sit, just get him to settle’.

"Luckily they went a nice gallop, I probably hit the front a bit too soon but when the horses came to me he really quickened.

"He fought all the way to the line and made my job a lot easier in the end. I'm so pleased."

Murtagh said: “I never won this race as a jockey, but I was second a few times.

"This lad had been going well at home, he got put up 11lb for winning first time out and I ran him in a Group Three last time and he ran a nice race behind Pale Mimosa.

"I thought a fast pace and one-mile-six would suit him, and Louis gave him a lovely ride.

"I wanted Ross Coakley to ride but he's suspended - Andrew looked at the stats and said this lad (Steward) is red hot.

"He said he possibly hit the front a bit too soon. Ascot might be on his agenda now, but we'll see about the Melbourne Cup as he loves fast ground.”

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