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Jazz tunes up for Oaks bid

By Ron McKnight

Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver has opted to bypass Royal Ascot with Jazz Girl – due to feature on Friday – and focus on Down Royal's big Magners Derby day instead.

Jazz Girl, already the winner of eight races, is one of 11 entries for the Ulster Oaks, sponsored by Coolmore Stud and the supporting feature to the €100,000 Magners Derby at the Maze on Saturday.

The Caledon-based handler's runner is due to carry top weight in the €35,000 fillies showpiece while other top trainers supporting the showdown include Aidan O'Brien, Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger and Jessica Harrington.

Oliver, currently in top hat and tails at Royal Ascot, said: "The plan is Jazz Girl will run in the Ulster Oaks and Abby Cadabby in the Ulster Derby although that is dependent on the ballot.

"I'll sort out riding arrangements when I return home."

Yesterday's forfeit stage saw 18 remain in the Magners Ulster Derby with Irish champion trainer O'Brien opting to leave in Gypsy King and John Constable while Yorkshire-based Mark Johnston still has a quartet engaged.

Top jockey turned trainer Johnny Murtagh has the very progressive Urban Moon still engaged and is presently at Royal Ascot, Purr Along due to run today in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes and top jockey Richard Hughes booked to partner Murtagh's Royal Diamond in the Ascot Gold Cup on Friday.

Local trainer Oliver has left Abby Cadabby in the Maze feature, the filly having already won three races for trainer Ger Lyons' wife Lynne.

Lyons himself has a trio left in the Derby.

Harrington has both her entries, Benny Blanco and Bribe The Bouncer, left in the big race.

The two-day meeting starts on Friday evening, featuring the Galway Plate Trial.

* Tony McCoy stepped up the pace in his bid for an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title with a superb 66/1 treble at Stratford yesterday.

The prolific Ulsterman was victorious on board Supreme Present, Don Padeja and Devon General.

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