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Starspangledbanner - Johnny Murtagh - July Cup - Newmarket 2010

Starspangledbanner will still go to the Breeders' Cup despite disappointing

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com  

Spangled gets mangled in Breeders' Cup prep

Report: Dundalk, Friday

Mercury Stakes (Listed Race) 5f, 2yo+

THE Breeders' Cup Sprint-bound Starspangledbanner could finish no closer than a well-beaten fourth in the Mercury Stakes on his prep for next week's Breeders' Cup Sprint, with the improving Balmont Mast winning for Eddie Lynam and Johnny Murtagh.

Prominent throughout on the wide outside, Starspangledbanner found little when asked to quicken by Joseph O'Brien. Balmont Mast however, who travelled in a similar position, albeit on the rail, quickened well when offered a gap, coming home in 57.35 seconds, a new course record.

Aidan O'Brien said: "That was just what the doctor ordered. He had been racing on slow ground, which he hates, and he needed tonight's race. He had a bad draw and wasn't beaten far. This should leave him right for next weekend. "

There are international plans for the winner as well, Lynam said: "That was good. The plan is to go to Dubai but we could go to Lingfield first for the Golden Rose Stakes."

The Golden Rose is a 6f Listed race on November 17.

The 7-2 second favourite, Balmont Mast finished a length clear of 13-2 shot Nocturnal Affair, who is also destined for Dubai, with 20-1 Timeless Call in third.

 
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