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.”