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Murtagh off the mark for Aga Khan with Shartash

Shartash and Ben Coen (left) beat Age Of Kings (right)Shartash and Ben Coen (left) beat Age Of Kings (right)
© Photo Healy Racing

Shartash just prevailed in a cracking finish to the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race at Naas.

The Johnny Murtagh-trained colt was a solid 10/11 favourite for the conditions event, run over just shy of six furlongs.

Ben Coen tracked the front-running Age Of Kings on the son of Invincible Spirit and produced him to challenge over a furlong from home.

Shartash gained a narrow lead inside the final furlong but Age Of Kings rallied well and just a nose separated the pair as they flashed past the post locked together.

It was the first winner that Murtagh had trained for the Aga Khan and he said afterwards:-

“It's great. Coming here I was confident that it would take a smart one to beat him.

“He's a sharp colt, for one of the Aga's he shows plenty of pace. It was a bit close for comfort, the other one was battling back at the end.

“He's a nice colt. He's tough, he's hardy and we'll stick him up into stakes class now.

“We were delighted with our lad first time when he finished third and you saw what the second (Little Big Bear) did today. I was getting a bit more confident then but then you see the opposition you're up against in Ireland.

“Pat (Downes) was just saying the mare is pretty useful.

“I'm after running a couple of two-year-olds that disappointed but this lad is probably the sharpest we have at the moment.

“We've a few nice horses that will take a bit of time but I've got a few sharp ones for his Highness this year and in the next couple of weeks we should have a few more out.”

About Gary Carson
Gary started out as a trainee/assistant journalist with the Sporting Life newspaper and has worked in the racing industry for over 25 years. He has been with the Press Association since 2013 and won the Irish Field Nap Table in 2016. He enjoys working with horses and trained his own horse, Mamaslittlestar, to win a point-to-point in 2019.