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Martin Harley up for Royal Ascot treble

By Ron McKnight

Published 14/06/2016

On a treble: Northern Ireland jockey Martin Harley has a trio of top-level mounts on the first day of Royal Ascot
On a treble: Northern Ireland jockey Martin Harley has a trio of top-level mounts on the first day of Royal Ascot

Donegal jockey Martin Harley has a trio of high-profile mounts on the first day of Royal Ascot. Harley partners Goldream for trainer Robert Cowell in the Grade 1 King's Stakes - one of three Grade 1 contests on day one, with the race forming part of the Global Sprint Challenge.

Goldream won the feature last year and is having his first start in Britain this season having run at Meydan during the winter months and concluded last season with a victory at Longchamp in the top class Grade 1 Prix De L'Abbaye - considered the European championship over five furlongs.

The seven-year-old has already won in excess of £500,000.

The Letterkenny jockey also partners Just An Idea in another ultra-competitive contest - the listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

His mount showed distinct promise on his Chepstow debut when finishing a close third for trainer Harry Dunlop.

Ireland's champion jumps trainer, Willie Mullins has called on the local rider to partner Sempre Medici in the Ascot Stakes.

Champion jockey Ryan Moore gets the ride on the Mullins number one and likely favourite Pique Sous, which is already a Royal Ascot winner, having claimed victory in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at the course in 2014 for the jockey/trainer combination.

Pique Sous is unraced since the Punchestown Festival with the Royal Ascot race having been his summer target.

Mullins has won the race twice in recent years, while the marathon has been plundered by other Irish trainers including two wins by Tony Martin and Charles Byrnes in 2014.

Meanwhile, the feature of the first session of the summer festival at Down Royal on Friday evening is the Galway Plate Trial, which has attracted 18 entries including a trio trained at Larne by Stuart Crawford.

Aintree Grand National winning trainer Mouse Morris also has a trio of entries with First Lieutenant, Horendus Hullabaloo and Ravished, while the Henry De Bromhead trained, Shanahan's Turn, winner of the Galway Plate last season, is set to top the weights.

Joseph O'Brien, who started his training career with a bang last week when sending out a quartet of winners, has the JP McManus-owned Carriganog engaged in Friday's feature race.

Mullins has multiple entries on the first day of the Ulster Derby meeting, including Ballycasey, Devils Bride, McKinley and Listen Dear.

Racing at Down Royal gets under way with the first race on Friday at 5.45.pm

Meanwhile, Jim Bolger has indicated that Stellar Mass will represent him in Saturday's Magners Ulster Derby, saying: "I am hoping that he will give a good account of himself at Down Royal.

"The step up to a mile-and-a-half suited him and it is a race that is well worth going for and the good ground is a plus for him and that the track will be in good order.

"He doesn't seem as effective on soft ground."

Belfast Telegraph

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