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Oisin Murphy hopes Lightning Spear can hit target

30 Jul 2018

Jockey talks about hopes of landing Qatar Sussex Stakes aboard David Simcock-trained seven-year-old

Murphy and Lightning Spear have been placed in six Group 1 races. Picture: Racingfotos.com 

Oisin Murphy is hoping Lightning Spear’s effectiveness at Goodwood can help the David Simcock-trained seven-year-old gain a deserved first Group 1 triumph in the £1,066,250 Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.

The Qatar Racing-owned horse, who features among a final field of eight, must be one of the few horses in the modern era to have been placed in six Group 1 races – all of them falling under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella – without quite managing to win one. On three occasions he has been beaten under a length.

This season he has shown himself to be as good as ever, being beaten a short head by Rhododendron in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes before going down by half a length and a neck in last month’s Queen Anne Stakes, won by Accidental Agent, at Royal Ascot.

“This horse needs to win a Group 1 because he’s the most beautiful physical specimen with a good temperament and the pedigree,” Murphy said. “If we can get a Group 1 in the UK he would deserve his place at stud and, realistically, he would be an exciting stallion prospect.

“He’s been freshened up since Ascot and is in super order. As he gets older he’s not losing any ability. He’s won two Celebration Miles at Goodwood and he was placed in the Sussex last year when the ground was bottomless. I’d say the track probably suits him better than Ascot because there’s a turn.”

Reflecting back on his latest near-miss, at the Royal Meeting, when he traded long odds-on in running after hitting the front a furlong from home, Murphy said: “When you don’t win you look back and see what you could have done differently and, if I’m being a bit self-critical, I hit the front a little early.

“I led at the furlong pole, whereas the winner hit the front only about 100 yards or so from the line. I need to bear that in mind going forward. I thought the time was right to go because I didn’t feel we had gone overly hard, but we got racing in plenty of time.”