Invincible Spirit's Shartash Wins The Railway


Shartash (green silks) wins the Railway |


It is rare that The Aga Khan's silks are at the forefront this early in the major two-year-old contests, but when they are it is always a good sign and Shartash (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}–Shamreen {Ire}, by Dubawi {Ire}) showed he had the precocity to go with his illustrious pedigree in Saturday's G2 GAIN Railway S. at The Curragh. Kept fresh by Johnny Murtagh following his Naas conditions win May 7, the son of the dual G2 Blandford S. winner was held up early as the Listed First Flier S. and G3 Marble Hill S. winner Blackbeard (Ire) (No Nay Never) set off in front. Needing the gaps late on, the 9-1 shot was produced in time by Ben Coen to oust the rallying 5-6 favourite by a short head, with 1 1/4 lengths back to Apache Outlaw (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) in third. “This is where these colours should be on Irish Derby weekend and it's my job to get them there,” Murtagh said. “He's a Guineas type of horse to me, he's got that pace.”

The last juvenile that the owner-breeder enjoyed such early-season success with was the great Siyouni (Fr), so Shartash's every move from here on warrants the closest examination. Third on debut behind the subsequent Marble Hill runner-up Tough Talk (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) and the Windsor Castle-winning TDN Rising Star Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) over this course and distance Apr. 10, the bay managed to edge out Age of Kings (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) at Naas before being held back from the demands of Royal Ascot. Rewarding that patience, he was able to subdue the more-experienced Blackbeard who was demonstrating his unquenchable appetite for the game by coming back at the line.

“He's improved and got a bit more streetwise–he was always sharp, but now he's relaxing and he showed a very good turn of foot today when he needed it,” Murtagh added. “Ben had to be brave there, but I have great confidence in him and a good horse is usually able to get you out of trouble. He's always had plenty of speed and when I entered him up in April, Pat Downes said 'are you sure?' but I knew that this is a real two-year-old. He's tough and hardy and the Phoenix is the next logical step. Maybe it will be the National Stakes later on–he has to get seven and that is not a guarantee at the moment, but he's starting to do it right now.”

There is no obvious reason why Shartash should not get at least seven furlongs on pedigree, with Shamreen at her best over a mile and a quarter as she showed when garnering her brace of Blandfords and also the G3 Royal Whip S. here. The second dam Shahreen (Ire) (Bahri) captured the G3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies' S. and also produced the GIII Singspiel S. winner Shahroze (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), while she is kin to the G3 Brigadier Gerard S. scorer Sharestan (Ire) (Shamardal). From the family of the 1986 Irish Derby hero Shahrastani, Shamreen's second foal and first winner Shartash is followed by a yearling colt by the aforementioned Siyouni.

Saturday, The Curragh, Ireland
GAIN RAILWAY-G2, €142,800, Curragh, 6-25, 2yo, 6fT, 1:14.44, gd.
1–SHARTASH (IRE), 131, c, 2, by Invincible Spirit (Ire)
     1st Dam: Shamreen (Ire) (MGSW-Ire, $364,530), by Dubawi (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Shareen (Ire), by Bahri
     3rd Dam: Sharesha (Ire), by Ashkalani (Ire)
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GROUP WIN. O-H H Aga Khan; B-His Highness The Aga Khan's Studs S.C. (IRE); T-Johnny Murtagh; J-Ben Coen. €72,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-1, $91,449. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Blackbeard (Ire), 131, c, 2, No Nay Never–Muirin (Ire), by Born To Sea (Ire). (270,000gns Wlg '20 TATFOA). O-D Smith,Mrs J Magnier,M Tabor,Westerberg; B-Newstead Breeding (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. €24,000.
3–Apache Outlaw (Ire), 131, c, 2, Churchill (Ire)–Focus of Attention (Ire), by Intense Focus.
1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (£21,000 Ylg '21 GOFFUK). O-E & S Racing; B-Whisperview Trading Ltd (IRE); T-Joseph O'Brien. €12,000.
Margins: SHD, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 9.00, 0.83, 22.00.
Also Ran: Age of Kings (Ire), Borletti (Ire), Crispy Cat (GB). Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.

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