Murphy on a roll in home straight
By ROBIN PARKE
IRISH-American ace Declan Murphy quits Hongkong racing at the end of the season - but he's certainly making his presence felt in his final campaign.
The top jockey chalked up a short-priced double at Happy Valley yesterday to keep up a good run which has lasted from the start of the virus-interrupted season.
Murphy was also hit by a three-meeting suspension but he's back and riding better than ever.
He was on hot favourite American Star (6-5) in the poor, five-runner, opening event for this season's griffins and had little cause for concern at any stage of the 1,235-metre race.
Blinkered for the first time at only his second start, American Star safely saw off Racing Star (7-1) and Casablanca (9-2) with a display that suggests more will be heard of the colt.
He tended to idle in front, but shaken up by Murphy, showed no inclination to shirk his responsibilities.
Dashing in the final event completed the double with the 5-2 favourite giving a grand display in the 1,650-metre Class Two event.
Dashing is a giant individual with a massive stride, that not only eats up the ground but also puts his opposition under constant, grinding pressure.
It was no surprise that virtually this entire field was labouring going off the Rock as Murphy and Dashing continued to do it with ground-consuming ease.
Bottomweight Racing Ace (10-1) ran a stout second, making up ground in the final 100 metres but never seriously threatening.
However, a mile at either course would be as far as Dashing wants to go.