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Diamond to cut it for Murtagh


Royal Diamond can continue his remarkable improvement for Johnny Murtagh by turning the tables on Ernest Hemmingway in tonight's Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown.

A paltry four runners vie for the Group Three, a puzzling turnout for a 12-furlong contest that doesn't feature a superior-rated horse to scare off potential challengers.

On official figures, just three pounds separate the top three runners, with Jim Bolger's Scintillula an intriguing three-year-old contender on the back of her defeat of Mars in a similar contest here over 10 furlongs last month.

When Royal Diamond met Ernest Hemmingway at the Curragh in June, he was well held in second by five lengths.

However, he enjoys a six-pound pull at the weights this evening and that might be enough to give him a slight edge.

At Sligo, Galway Hurdle hero Robbie Power and Ruby Walsh are due to return after bad falls at Roscommon on Tuesday.

Of the two, Walsh may be the more likely to depart with a winner, as Uranna and Indevan have serious claims.

Richard Hughes landed the EBF Stallions/Laines Best Fillies' Handicap at Brighton when riding a positive race on William Haggas's progressive Floating Along - but the race was not without its drama for the in-form rider.

The 11-4 joint-favourite eventually clung on by head from Maid A Million but Hughes picked up a one-day ban for not keeping straight out of the stalls and could miss a potential chance in either the Ebor or Celebration Mile on August 24.

* NO charges are to be brought against trainers interviewed during a British Horseracing Authority investigation into the use of the veterinary product Sungate.

Sungate contains stanozolol, an anabolic steroid and therefore a prohibited substance under the Rules of Racing. The BHA spoke to a number of trainers as the treatment was advised by a veterinary practice all had in common.

The investigation identified that 43 horses from nine trainers had been treated with Sungate since early 2010.

However, all had been correctly entered into the relevant medical records and had been administered by veterinary surgeons and on veterinary advice, and with none of the horses producing positive samples, the BHA concluded there were no grounds for charges.

Newmarket-based trainer Gerard Butler went public over the issue of Sungate in the wake of the Mahmood Al Zarooni scandal, which saw the latter disqualified for eight years after being found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 15 horses in his care.

Butler does face charges as he admitted to administering the drug himself in some cases and is not a qualified vet.

Adam Brickell, of the BHA, said: "There would no reasonable prospect of a disciplinary panel finding that these trainers have breached the Rules of Racing."

Belfast Telegraph


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