Middleham Park hoping for Railway sparkle with Marie’s Diamond

Johnston runner takes on Van Beethoven and company

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Marie’s Diamond will bid to provide Middleham Park Racing with a second victory in the Railway Stakes over six furlongs at the Curragh on Saturday.

The successful syndicate landed the prestigious juvenile prize with the tough-as-teak Kool Kompany in 2014 and look to have another major contender on their hands in Mark Johnston’s dual winner.

The son of Footstepsinthesand disappointed when favourite for the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom on his penultimate start, but bounced back with a comprehensive all-the-way victory at Chester.

Middleham Park’s Mike Prince said: “It was good to get back to winning ways last time out at Chester.

“We’ve just put a line through Epsom, we went there confident but I think the ground was probably too soft and he took Cosmic Law on from a long way out and was soon beaten.

“We thought we had to have another run to decide what we did with him, so it was pleasing to see him win. The choice was Ascot or wait for this and we decided to wait.

“As it comes quickly after Ascot, Aidan O’Brien tends not to run his best two-year-old and we won it a few years ago with Kool Kompany.”

O’Brien has saddled 11 previous winners of the Railway Stakes and has three chances in this year’s renewal.

Ryan Moore partners Van Beethoven, who was an eyecatching fourth in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot last week, while the trainer’s son, Donnacha, rides Land Force, who was beaten just half a length into third in the Norfolk Stakes.

North Wind, who was well-beaten in the Windsor Castle, completes the O’Brien trio under Seamie Heffernan.

O’Brien said of Van Beethoven: “He’s in good form. He ran very well in Ascot and seems to be in good form since.

“It looked in Ascot, obviously, that he would get further than five (furlongs).

“It was much the same thing with Land Force at Ascot. He was coming home well and he seems in good form since.”

Fozzy Stack has high hopes for Highland Fortune, who finished sixth on his Curragh debut before opening his account at Leopardstown.

“The maiden he ran in first time couldn’t have worked out any better. Hopefully he’ll run a good race,” said Stack.

“I suppose it really revolves around Aidan’s horses.

“Our horse was impressive the last day and he’s been in good order since. We think he’s a nice horse in the making.

“We’re coming back in trip a furlong, but I don’t think that will bother him really.

“He’s certainly not short of pace, it looked like he could have won at any trip the other day.”

Marie’s Diamond is one of two British raiders alongside Mick Channon’s unbeaten colt Certain Lad.

The Ger Lyons-trained Invasion Day and Invincible Karma from Jessica Harrington’s yard complete the eight-strong team.

Middleham Park hoping for Railway sparkle with Marie’s Diamond
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