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Magic Sea on the crest of a wave after Down Royal win

By Ron McKnight

Magic Sea shrugged off the testing conditions to spring a 20/1 surprise in the Nursery Handicap at Down Royal last night. The winner, with top apprentice Danny Sheehy aboard, is trained at Banbridge by Sarah Dawson.

Magic Sea was only seventh on the outside prior to the elbow and boldly jumped the road crossing before battling out the photo finish with Just Sherry to score by a nose.

Dawson said: "He's a lovely horse but he's just been slow for the penny to drop.

"I didn't think he would handle that ground at all, he's such a good mover.

"He's definitely one for Dundalk. He's very, very big. I've been waiting for him to sort of fall apart after every run and put him away because he is so tall but he actually thrives on his work so we'll keep him going now."

The featured Ulster Cesarewitch supplied another photo finish and Nelson Road - trained by John Joseph Murphy in Cork with Shane Foley steering - scored by a short head over Boom Or Bush.

The pair went clear in the closing stages while Whatsforyouwontgobyu - a major gamble on from 12s to 9/2 - finished fourth.

John Murphy Jnr said: "He's a very, very tough horse as you can see. He's a big, tall boy.

"He has improved and improved, he had a very good run the last day. We thought he would go very close today. Thank God that makes the trip home a bit shorter - it's five hours."

Kimono Girl, having broken smartly and holding the inside berth, looked the likely winner of the opener until collared in the final strides by favourite Damselfly, trained by Joseph O'Brien with Wayne Lordan aboard.

Lordan said: "Joseph (O'Brien) was confident, he was just afraid of the ground to be honest. The ground was a little bit slow for her - it's soft ground and I rolled around a little bit in it."

The EBF Maiden supplied a similar scenario with the Eddie Lyman trained Focus Of Attention, partnered by Robbie Downey, catching favourite Shinko Princess in the closing strides.

The winner was one of a trio of runners for the trainer in the contest along with Clare Island (fourth) and Slumming Angel (fifth).

Lynam said: "It's the first horse that three lads that work in London have with me. She's a well-bred filly. This filly is a big filly and took a bit of time."

Johnny Murtagh recorded three from three in two-year-old contests at the track when Beach Wedding with Rory Cleary in the saddle made all to win the Auction Maiden easily as Air Of Nobility ran on late to claim second.

Cleary said: "Johnny (Murtagh) had her 100 per cent today - all I had to do was jump out and ride her positive. She did all the rest for me."

Jockeys obviously decided in view of conditions that the stands side was best and Path Of Silver was guided to victory by Oisin Orr on the wide outside in the Weatherbys Handicap, winning easily for trainer Richard Brabazon.

"She is having some campaign, she is just as game as hell," said Brabazon.

"At the beginning of the season we thought we had a low-grade mare. Suddenly she has got a bit of value."

Orr completed a double when winning on the well supported Tony Martin-trained Our Rachael in the Apprentice Handicap when again the runners opted to move stands side in the closing stages.

Martin said: "She's tough, she's very tough.

"She's better on better ground, she's a good-actioned filly. It's loose - lucky enough we got through it.

"Oisin is a very good rider, a great chap and he is a big-race jockey of the future."

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