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Donal Murphy

Donal Murphy

Impressive Ickworth now two from two as Lee doubles-up

Ickworth is ridden out by Billy LeeIckworth is ridden out by Billy Lee
© Photo Healy Racing

Ickworth made it two from two in the Listed First Flier Stakes, providing Billy Lee with a quickfire double on the card.

A winner on debut at Dundalk in March, the Willie McCreery trained Shamardal bay was sent off at 8/1 this afternoon, having opened on-course at 10s.

Settled behind the leader in second, the Godolphin owned victor travelled best over a furlong from home and soon went clear, keeping on well in the closing stages to score by two and a quarter lengths.

King Neptune, who was returned the 2/5 favourite, attempted to make all under Ryan Moore, but he had no answer once headed, and had to settle for second, with the Jessica Harrington trained In The Present a further half a length back in third.

McCreery said afterwards: "She's a sharp little filly and I was delighted to see the drying ground all week. I'd say a bit quicker ground would suit her even better.

"She's very easy to deal with once she gets out on the track. She's a little bit busy at times but she settled lovely and it suited us to get a lead into the race. Everything worked out well and she quickened up well and ran right through the line.

"Sheikh Mohammed loves to have runners in Royal Ascot and she's going to love the fast ground so if I can just keep her sound until then would be the thing. I don't think she'll run before that.

"It's always a stiff five here and I would be thinking of five rather than six for her at the moment. She had all the toe everywhere and she quickened away from them in the last furlong. I wouldn't be trying to stop here as she's doing all that in her own tempo."

Betfair go 12/1 about Ickworth for the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

Additional reporting by Alan Magee

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