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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 15:51 UK

Murtagh rides Duke to Ascot glory

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Replay: Prince of Wales's Stakes

Duke Of Marmalade gave punters a big pay-day as he won Royal Ascot's Prince Of Wales's Stakes following a massive gamble on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old, ridden by Johnny Murtagh and sent off an even money favourite, romped to victory by four lengths and was never in danger.

Phoenix Tower took second place and Pipedreamer had to settle for third.

"He's an unbelievable horse. Every run he just gets better. He's the real deal," said trainer O'Brien.

Murtagh gave Duke Of Marmalade a fine start as O'Brien's second string Red Rock Canyon - arguably only entered into the race to set the pace for his stablemate - led the field in the early stages.

He's up there with the best horses I've ever ridden

Johnny Murtagh

Duke Of Marmalade was always ideally placed in mid-division.

Pressing hit the front two furlongs out but there was no containing Murtagh once he switched Duke Of Marmalade towards the centre of the course to make his challenge.

Ask, the joint second-favourite, tried to stay with him, but Murtagh's mount romped home to give O'Brien and Murtagh their first success in this Group One showpiece.

O'Brien and Murtagh delighted with win

It was, however, incredibly their third Group One success during the two days of this year's Royal meeting.

"He was the first horse that I rode when I came back from Dubai," added Murtagh, who has returned to racing in Europe after a spell in the Emirates.

"He's up there with the best horses I've ever ridden and today was the big target.

"He's been showing speed at home and I ride him in a lot of his work. As Aidan says, if we had five or six like him we'd be very happy."


Phoenix Towers' trainer, Henry Cecil, said: "He ran really well and is still improving.

"There was a bit of scrimmaging at the beginning but I don't think it made the difference between winning and losing. He might have been a length or two closer.

"I'm very pleased and he has run on well, but he has finished second and not first."

O'Brien and Murtagh had already enjoyed a spectacular Tuesday, combining to secure big race victories on Haradasun and Henrythenavigator.

And the Irish duo have the favourite for another Group One race on Thursday with top stayer Yeats seeks to win the Ascot Gold Cup for the third year running.

1545 Prince of Wales's Stakes (Group 1 - 1m2f)
1. Duke of Marmalade (J Murtagh) Evs f
2. Phoenix Tower (T Durcan) 7-1
3. Pipedreamer (J Fortune) 11-1
12 ran. Dist: 4 lengths; Short Head; 1 lengths

see also
Royal Ascot day two photos
18 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Ascot day two as it happened
18 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Henrythenavigator stars at Ascot
17 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Royal Ascot meeting schedule
12 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Horse racing on the BBC
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Quiz the racing team
29 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing

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