Smullen only two behind Murtagh

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Updated: October 31, 2011

Pat Smullen kept the Irish jockeys’ championship race alive with a near 222-1 treble at Leopardstown.

The six-times title-holder began the day five behind leader Johnny Murtagh but he closed the gap to two after the latter drew a blank.

Wins on Zaminast (7-4 favourite) and Midnight Music (8-1) for his boss Dermot Weld plus Coolnagree (8-1) for Willie McCreery gave Smullen renewed hope for a seventh title.

Smullen told At The Races: “At this time of year it’s very difficult but coming here I knew I had a good book of rides. We’ve had a good day and I’m back in the hunt.”

Smullen thought it his luck was out when Famous Name was a late withdrawal from the Trigo Stakes after going lame, but he switched to stablemate Zaminast, who proved an able deputy.

The lightly-raced filly came with a wet sail on the outside to head the pace-setting Amazing Beauty and go on to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Defining Year.

“She’s very progressive and I hope she’ll be kept in training next year,” said Weld.

“She hasn’t had a major problem she’s just very delicate. She was very light in the spring so we took our time and she was unlucky not to win her Group race last time. She’s very immature, she’s still very weak and she likes this ground, she’s not one for summer ground. I think she’ll be in Group races next year.

“There’s nothing else for Famous Name this year but the plan is to keep him in training for next season.”

Smullen also struck on Coolnagree, who gave McCreery a third successive win in the www.leopardstown.com Nursery while Midnight Music (8-1) came late to capture the Follow Leopardstown On Facebook Handicap.

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