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Merlin completes Magic afternoon for Mee family at Down Royal

Merlin Giant and Colin Keane win the Racing TV Maiden at Down Royal Merlin Giant and Colin Keane win the Racing TV Maiden at Down Royal
© Photo Healy Racing

Following on from their earlier win with Enfranchise in the Ulster Oaks, the Mee family were back in the winners' enclosure after Merlin Giant battled on well to land the concluding Watch Racing TV With Free Trail Now Maiden at Down Royal.

The Emmet Mullins trained gelding, a decent handicap hurdler who will almost certainly have Galway on his agenda, was sent off a well supported 8-11f under Colin Keane but had to work harder than expected in order to shed his maiden status on the level.

Leading over three furlongs from home, the champion jockey had to get serious on the six-year-old before eventually seeing off a host of challenges early in the straight to go away and win by three lengths at the line.

Emmet Mullins said: "He has finally put it together on the Flat. Colin was good on him and just kept it simple and got him out.

"First-time cheekpieces have worked as well.

"He's exciting going forward.

""He will (be on the team for Ballybrit), he will be on the truck anyway. Where he will pitch up is another thing, but I suppose we have plenty of options with him. We won't panic just yet.

"He ran twice (in Galway) last year, second the first day and won the second time. He has been there and done it which is a big help. Horses for courses, hopefully he can repeat it."

Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes

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About John O'Riordan
John has worked for the Press Association since 2022. He also writes a weekly column for The Irish Field and is a regular contributor to the Irish Racing Yearbook. He has previously written for the Racing Post, Irish Examiner and Irish Daily Mirror. He has been involved in racing for over three decades; having experience as a syndicate member, sole owner and breeder.