Posted: 18th Sep 2016
Johnny Murtagh: trainer of Duchess AndorraPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Gowran Park, Sunday
Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes (Group 3), 1m1½f, 3y0+, fillies and mares
DUCHESS ANDORRA showed a willing attitude to spring a surprise and register a first win at Group level when narrowly fending off Laganore.
Victory for the 16-1 shot, trained by Johnny Murtagh and ridden by Colin Keane, meant only one unit remained in the Pick 6, which had swollen to €863,638.66, with three legs still to go.
William Ashford's 14-1 success in the next race, division one of the mile handicap, ensured that the popular Tote bet was not won.
How the race was won
Duchess Andorra was always prominent under Keane and cut out much of the running alongside Maudlin Magdelin.
Laganore stayed on from the rear of the field to launch a threatening challenge but could not quite find enough to topple the long-time leader, who grimly held on to win by a short-head.
Sir Michael Stoute's raider Intimation, who was brought with a challenge under the stands' rail, finished three-quarters of a length further back in third.
The favourite Discipline was badly hampered when asked for her effort in the home straight, but looked an unlikely winner at the time in any case.
In her two previous attempts at Group level Duchess Andorra had been soundly beaten by Somehow in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes at the Curragh last month and by Bocca Baciata when a 50-1 chance for the Kilboy Estate Stakes.
But Duchess Andorra evidently relished the testing conditions and produced an improved performance to score.
"The whole aim this year was to get a bit of black type," said Murtagh. "We were aiming a bit high the last two times and a few journalists said I was a bit mad but I had great belief in her. When the conditions are like that I think that's the ideal trip for her.
"She'll be a valuable broodmare for Michael Ryan and his team and to win a race like this is huge. She's been very consistent all year and one thing she has is great heart and she battled back well.
"Michael junior got married on Friday and I told them I would have a nice wedding present for them on Sunday, so there you go!"
Return to news listings.