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ROYAL ASCOT: Murphy secures maiden Royal Ascot success with Benbatl (VIDEO)
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ROYAL ASCOT: Murphy secures maiden Royal Ascot success with Benbatl (VIDEO)
on 22 June 2017
Oisin Murphy elated with first ever Royal Ascot winner

Oisin Murphy secured his first ever Royal Ascot winner with a strong ride on Benbatl, who fended off the late challenge of Orderofthegarter in the Hampton Court Stakes.

The win also gave trainer Saeed Bin Suroor his first winner of the week and his 36th in all at Royal Ascot.

Fifth in the Derby, Benbatl (9/2) bounced back in style and responded well to Oisin Murphy's urging in the finish to hold off Ryan Moore's mount.

Taj Mahal set the early pace, while Murphy settled in behind, happy to bide his time before kicking for home just under two furlongs out.

Mirage Dancer looked like challenging but could not quite go with them at a crucial stage, as Orderofthegarter flew down the middle of the track, pushing Benbatl all the way to the line.

The Godolphin runner clung on to victory by half a length, though, to continue a fruitful meeting for Sheikh Mohammed's team, with Mirage Dancer staying on for third.

The Co Kerry native was clearly elated after the race and said: “It’s a massive monkey off my back, I'm just delighted to get it. It’s absolute elation, I don’t normally celebrate like that, and I know it’s only a Group 3, but this meeting is very important. When watching the replay tonight, I’ll be stopping the film straight after the line, I won’t be watching the celebrations!”

Murphy had previously ridden Benbatl in the Epsom Derby to finish fifth behind Wings Of Eagles and kept the ride for today.

“He travelled like the best horse in today’s race because he was the best horse in the race,” the jockey said. “I am very fortunate to have a very good job with Qatar Racing, but Saeed puts me up sometimes as well and to get a winner for Godolphin is great, it’s a very important week, it’s fantastic."

Suroor was delighted with Murphy and said: “Oisin is a jockey for the future. He is doing really well and has always done a good job for us in Dubai and here. We are going to use him even more in the future."

Of Benbatl, the Godolphin handler commented: “When he won the first time, we thought that he was the right horse for the big races.

“He finished fifth in the Derby and he ran well, but he came from too far back and finished strong, so we thought that a mile and a quarter would be better for him.

“Sheikh Mohammed made the decision to run him in today’s race and Benbatl is obviously improving all the time.

“Last year, he was very backward, I looked after him in the winter and then early in the season, he showed some class. It is brilliant to win at Royal Ascot. These races are hard to win but finally we find the right horse to win.

“We will keep the options open. We might take him to York for the York Stakes, or the Great Voltigeur Stakes or we could go to Goodwood for the Gordon Stakes. Then later maybe give him a break before the Champion Stakes at Ascot."


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