Murtagh Lands Three Ascot Winners

Murtagh Lands Three Ascot Winners
Photo: AP Photo/Tom Hevezi/PA
Royal Rebel (right), winning the Ascot Gold Cup.
One day after learning he will be suspended for five days, Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh rode three winners on the Royal Ascot card, including an all-out triumph on Royal Rebel in the featured Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I).

According to Sporting Life, Murtagh's suspension for his ride in Tuesday's Coventry Stakes will cause the rider to miss his country's premier Irish Derby meet. Murtagh was also given another one-day suspension Thursday for use of the whip in his winning ride aboard American-bred Sahara Slew in the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II).

In the marathon 2 1/2 mile Gold Cup, the 5-year-old Royal Rebel won a duel with 9-year-old Persian Punch as the two geldings enthralled the Ascot crowd. At the finish, the British-bred Royal Rebel had a head on his rival, with Jardines Lookout five lengths back in third. The final time was 4:18.92.

A son of Robellino, Royal Rebel has won six of 22 starts, with his best previous victory being the J. P. Morgan Goodwood Cup (Eng-II) last year. He is trained by Mark Johnston for Peter Savill.

American horses were well represented in the winner's enclosure at Ascot Thursday. The Ribblesdale was the first stakes triumph and second win from three career starts for Sahara Slew, a daughter of Seattle Slew trained by John Oxx for Lady O'Reilly. She was bred in Kentucky by West Star Thoroughbreds.

Johannesburg, a 2-year-old son of Hennessy bred in Kentucky by W. G. Lyster III and Jayeff "B" Stable, remained undefeated in two career starts when he won the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-III). The colt is trained by Aidan O'Brien for Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier. Irish agent Demi O'Byrne paid $200,000 for the colt from the Michael C. Byrne consignment to the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Entries, results from Ascot

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