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Diamond decision next week

By Frank Brownlow

Johnny Murtagh plans to give Royal Diamond a workout over the weekend before making a final decision as to whether he makes the trip to Australia for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

A reliable performer all season with a Group Three and Listed race to his name, the seven-year-old was said to have been tired after his effort to retain the Irish St Leger, where he finished fifth behind Voleuse De Coeurs.

Royal Diamond has 54.5kg at Flemington and Murtagh will need to put him in quarantine by October 3 to arrive among the second batch of European raiders towards the end of the month.

"There's no news yet," Murtagh said.

"We'll wait until the weekend and give him a half-speed gallop then. Hopefully we'll be able to make a decision after that."

Meanwhile, two of Ireland's top mares are among the entries for the much-changed Irish Field Loughbrown Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Formerly a seven-furlong event for three-year-olds in the spring, the Loughbrown was part of a shake-up and has become the longest-distance black-type event of the Irish season over two miles.

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