Johnny Murtagh rode many major winners in the famous Aga Khan colours and trained his first one for the prominent owner as Shartash showed a blistering turn of foot to win the Gain Railway Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday
Murtagh spoke of his pride when the Aga Khan sent him his first horses and it appears he now has a flag bearer for the owner.
A winner last time out at Naas, Shartash was nevertheless a big drifter in the betting and was sent off at 9/1.
Aidan O’Brien’s Blackbeard was sent off the 5/6 favourite having finished fourth in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and Ryan Moore was always to the fore.
Ben Coen on Shartash must have had one or two brief thoughts that he was going to be locked up with nowhere to go a furlong out as he was trapped between horses.
However, a gap appeared just in time and Shartash quickened up smartly to catch Blackbeard just in time.
The pair flashed across the line together but Shartash got the verdict by a short head to be given a 33/1 quote for next year’s Guineas.
Murtagh said: “These colours have been very lucky to me throughout my career. We’ve had some great days.
“For His Highness to send us horses was special and to win the Railway Stakes is a great day for the team. He’s a nice horse that is improving all the time and he had to be brave today.
“Ben says he has a good turn of foot and the good ones have a turn of foot. Ben said he wasn’t in a great position, but when he got into the gap he quickened up well.
“After he won in Naas we thought this race would really suit him well. We freshened him up and it’s great when it all comes together.
“He’s in the Phoenix Stakes.”