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Dunlop diverts Manjaam from Royal meeting to Ulster Derby

By Ron McKnight

Ed Dunlop has confirmed that Manjaam is an intended runner in the Down Royal Summer Festival feature - the Magners Ulster Derby

Dunlop, whose sole runner on the second day of Royal Ascot, Sharaakah, finished third in the finale, believes Manjaam can make a big impact at Down Royal.

"I have switched him from his Ascot engagement because of the going - the advised going at Down Royal will suit him," said Dunlop.

"I'm looking forward to the race as I have never had a runner in Northern Ireland.

"I've not confirmed ridden arrangements as yet but think Wayne Lordan will be aboard."

Order of St George claimed Her Majesty's Plate at Down Royal in July last year prior to winning both the St Leger Trial and the Irish St Leger at the Curragh.

The victory at the Lisburn course highlighted the Aidan O'Brien contender as a future "Cup" horse and while partnered by Joseph O'Brien at the Maze won on his recent seasonal debut at Leopardstown with another of the Champion trainer's sons, Donnacha, in the saddle.

But Ryan Moore takes the mount in today's renamed Gold Cup in Honour of the Queen's 90th Birthday.

The current soft ground should not inconvenience the favourite and can provide Ballydoyle connections with another victory in the marathon on Ladies day. The Irish Champion trainer has sent out six Gold Cup winners including Yeats' recording breaking four victories.

Letterkenny jockey, Martin Harley has three mounts on today's card including Shiekzayedroad and, interestingly, Donnacha O'Brien has been called up by trainer David Pipe for his Gold Cup hope Griraz.

Irish Champion jockey Pat Smullen is enlisted by Champion Jumps trainer Willie Mullins for Max Dynamite and looking ahead to Saturday's Magners Ulster Derby Smullen said: "I have been lucky enough to have won it twice before - it's always a competitive race.

"Dermot [Weld] has a few options - it's too early to say what he'll run but Zalfana is a nice filly. She might lack a bit of experience but she stays well and is one that the boss might consider running in the race."

Ballydoyle, a leading fancy for tomorrow's Coronation Stakes, will not run in the race. Aidan O'Brien instead relies on Alice Springs - third in the first English classic behind Ballydoyle which holds an entry in the French Oaks at Chantilly on Sunday.

Punters took the spoils at Royal Ascot yesterday but there was a chink of light for the bookmakers when My Dream Boat landed the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Sent off the complete outsider of the field, the high-street firms were trembling after a string of earlier fancied winners had lined up some potential accumulators with Japanese superstar A Shin Hikari to come. However, he failed to produce his previous form and trailed in last, with the 16-1 winner just catching Found.

Earlier, Lady Aurelia lived up to her billing as the best two-year-old American Wesley Ward had brought to the meeting. Sent off a well-backed 2-1 favourite she produced the performance of the meeting to blitz her rivals, winning by seven lengths.

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