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Johnston plays Curragh Whip hand




PA Wire/Press Association Images


Mark Johnston is looking to see Maputo's progression continue in the Royal Whip at the Curragh.

Since returning with a win at Hamilton in May the Cape Cross colt has run five more races and only lost once, when dropped back to a mile for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.

Since then he has been impressive at Newmarket and won a Listed race at Hamilton.

Johnston said: "He had options in the Rose Of Lancaster at Haydock and a race at Deauville but quite simply we decided on the Irish race because the field has broken up to only five runners.

"I haven't been surprised by his progression at all. I was disappointed by his display at Ascot, but that was probably my fault. He's won over a variety of trips but it was a mistake to drop him back down to a mile. He's far more comfortable over 10 furlongs.

"If he continues to progress I will be very happy but we won't make any decision about future races until this one is out of the way."

Taking him on is Dermot Weld's Caponata, Aidan O'Brien's Fortify, John Oxx's Qewy and the Jim Bolger filly Scintillula, who was a close third to Ernest Hemingway and Royal Diamond on Thursday.