Elegant Man glides to Easter Classic victory

Egan continues to excel as AMO number one.

Jockey: DAVID EGAN Picture: Pat Healy Photography

David Egan's start to life as AMO Racing's number one jockey could hardly have gone any smoother and the team enjoyed further big-race success when he masterfully steered Elegant Man to victory in the BetUK All-Weather Easter Classic Middle Distance Handicap.

The lightly-raced four-year-old looked like a smart prospect when making a successful debut on the all-weather at Dundalk in October, before going on to finish runner-up to the three-time Grade 1-winner Rebel's Romance in Listed company at Kempton a few months later.

Adrian Murray's son of Arrogate would readily regain the winning thread in a conditions event back at Dundalk in January and the striking colt was sent off the well-backed 11/4 market leader to defy a tall mark of 108 on his handicap debut.

In the manner of a jockey riding full of confidence, Egan expertly manoeuvred his mount from stall sixteen to the head of affairs before slowing down the tempo.

Egan continued to dictate matters out in front throughout the ten-furlong handicap and the classic-winning rider soon decided enough was enough and allowed his mount to stretch into a decisive advantage rounding the final bend.

The pair edged over towards the favoured stands side rail and although both the French raider Hooking and the progressive Penzance emerged from the pack to try to mount a challenge, neither could get close enough to Elegant Man, who stayed on stoutly to score by a length and a quarter, defying a staggering 9st 12lb in the process.

"That was brilliant, he's a class horse. He came with a high reputation and from the first day we ran him in Dundalk, he was very exciting," said Murray.

"We were actually planning on going to Dubai with him, but he didn't get in. We expected a big run from him today as he was doing everything well at home. He's a very, very nice horse.

"From that wide draw, we had no option but to let him go on and it would have suited us to go on too because he'll stay further.

"He settled down pretty quick and I was very happy. I saw them getting a bit closer to him and then he kicked again, and I said, 'we have it in the bag here'.

"He's still very unexposed and is improving all the time."

A step up in grade looks to be on the horizon for Elegant Man, with trainer Adrian Murray earmarking Group 3 or 2 company as the likely step. "I don't honestly know where we'll go next, we'll be looking for a Group Two or a Group Three and options are open to him," explained the trainer. "We came here with high expectations, we think he's a very good horse and going forward, I think there's even more improvement in him."

It's been a dream start to life as AMO Racing's number one jockey for David Egan, who steered Mr Professor to success in the Lincoln on the opening day of the turf Flat season in Britain.

"It's not the spring double but it's close!" he said.

"It's fantastic to get such a good start, Kia (Joorabchian, owner) will be over the moon. It's all about keeping it going. These are really exciting times.

"He always breaks a little slowly and from a wide draw, with his inexperience, I didn't want to have a mountain to climb with the way races have been unfolding on the round track.

"Races are being run at a sedate pace and I got a very easy lead. I had to commit him early enough, as I thought he might almost get outsprinted. I tried to make it a test up the straight and when they came to me, he picked up again.

"He's a horse having his fourth start and he carried top-weight in a £200,000 handicap – and he's won like that, he's a very classy horse."

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