Horse Racing: French fancy for Murtagh

Jockey Johnny Murtagh partner French challenger Chicquita Irish Oaks

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Jockey Johnny Murtagh will partner French challenger Chicquita in the Irish Oaks on Saturday.

The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained filly is still a maiden after three starts and connections have decided to hand Murtagh the ride for Saturday’s Curragh Classic.

Murtagh is the most successful jockey in the history of the Irish Oaks with five winners, Ebadiyla (1997), Winona (1998), Petrushka (2000), Peeping Fawn (2007) and Moonstone (2008), over the course of his career.

Chicquita, who finished second in the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) last time out, will face strong competition from the likes of Talent, Secret Gesture, Riposte and Alive Alive Oh at the Curragh this weekend.

Murtagh’s agent Eddie Byrne confirmed that the leading jockey at last month’s Royal Ascot meeting will partner the three-year-old in the Irish Oaks.

Byrne told the Irish Times: “Johnny will ride the French horse on Saturday. Her last run looks very good.”

Venus De Milo, Just Pretending, Tarana, Magical Dream, Scintillula, Say, Miss You Too and Masarah complete the 13-strong Irish Oaks field ahead for this weekend’s showpiece race at the Curragh.

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