Could There be a Measure Of Magic from Johnny Murtagh at Royal Ascot?

Johnny Murtagh had over 40 Royal Ascot winners during his illustrious saddle career, but one race he never had a chance to compete in before retiring as a jockey in 2014 was the Cup of the Commonwealth.

He has a live contender in training at his Coolaghknock yard for this year’s three-year-old Group 1 six-furlong sprint race, however, in Measure Of Magic. Daughter of the promising stallion Kodi Bear, this filly wins two consecutive Listed victories on his side of the Irish Sea this season.

Measure Of Magic, a handsome third from Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at the Festival de St Léger in Doncaster last fall on her only previous UK start, delighted her coach following her successful return to action at Navan. Success in the Polonia Stakes earned him his ticket to Royal Ascot.

“I think we will give [it] a try in the Commonwealth Cup, ”Murtagh said after his second campaign victory in Cork. “Ben [Coen, her jockey] said she had really learned to sprint now, and deserved a chance for a big one.

With 2000 Guineas, third Lucky Vega, ready to stay more than a kilometer in his next mission, Measure Of Magic is in fact the main Irish contender for Commonwealth Cup glory from the first closing entries, according to previous bets. -post. The move from a Listed level to a Group 1, even in a limited age race, is important but that doesn’t seem to bother Murtagh.

Measure Of Magic could also work again before Royal Ascot. She holds an entry in Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes, a six-stage sprint also open to older fillies and mares at the Curragh on June 2nd. It’s a little over a fortnight before the royal reunion, but Murtagh wasn’t afraid to fire her quickly with barely a dozen days between her first and second round this term.

The American raider Campanelle of Wesley Ward, a half-sister of Measure Of Magic and winner of Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes in last year’s reunion, is already among Royal Ascot Day 4 Tips and Forecast given by experts for the Commonwealth Cup. She is also the favorite with her trainer who always targets transatlantic runners at the big Flat Festival in Britain.

However, Irish riders have not done as well in the Commonwealth Cup since its introduction in 2015. Only one race winner to date has been trained on the Emerald Isle, and that was Caravaggio for the Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien in 2017, after a couple placed third in the first two races.

Forever In Dreams took second behind Advertise in the 2019 Commonwealth Cup for the much smaller team of handler Kilfeacle Aidan Fogarty. As a filly, Measure Of Magic will receive a sex allowance of 3 lbs and that makes a difference. Three fillies are placed in this race before.

For the JP Murtagh Racing Club, owner of Measure Of Magic, it’s more than a day of racing. They will be looking for a daring show of a filly trained in the same stables as produced Champers Elysees to the glory of Group 1 last season.

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