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Egan drives home Elegant Man for Easter Classic glory

Elegant Man put up an imperious display to make nearly every yard of the running in the BetUK All-Weather Easter Classic Middle Distance Handicap at Newcastle.

A son of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate, he is trained in Ireland by Adrian Murray.

There was plenty going against him, though, because as well as carrying top weight on just his fourth outing, he was drawn widest of all in stall 14.

David Egan, full of confidence having won the Lincoln in his new job for Amo Racing last week, was keen to get to the front and while he was briefly taken on by Blanchland, Elegant Man soon took command.

After the initial rush, Egan was able to control matters and having got a breather into his mount, visibly quickened the pace before the turn for home.

While that caught a few rivals on the hop, he then asked for a further effort well over two furlongs from home and as Penzance and Hooking, owned by footballer Antoine Griezmann, closed in, he looked vulnerable for a few strides.

It was to his credit that the 11-4 favourite saw out the trip strongly and won by a length and a half from Penzance, who ran a career-best himself.

Murray said: “That was brilliant, he’s a class horse. He came with a high reputation and from the first day we ran him in Dundalk, he was very exciting.

“We were actually planning on going to Dubai with him but he didn’t get in. We expected a big run from him today as he was doing everything well at home. He’s a very, very nice horse.

“From that wide draw, we had no option but to let him go on and it would have suited us to go on too, because he’ll stay further.

“He settled down pretty quick and I was very happy. I saw them getting a bit closer to him and then he kicked again and I said ‘we have it in the bag here’.

“He’s still very unexposed and is improving all the time.”

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “I don’t honestly know where we’ll go next, we’ll be looking for a Group Two or a Group Three and options are open to him.

“We came here with high expectations, we think he’s a very good horse and going forward, I think there’s even more improvement in him.”

Egan said: “It’s not the spring double but it’s close!

“It’s fantastic to get such a good start, Kia (Joorabchian, owner) will be over the moon. It’s all about keeping it going. These are really exciting times.

“He always breaks a little slowly and from a wide draw, with his inexperience, I didn’t want to have a mountain to climb with the way races have been unfolding on the round track.

“Races are being run at a sedate pace and I got a very easy lead. I had to commit him early enough, as I thought he might almost get outsprinted. I tried to make it a test up the straight and when they came to me, he picked up again.

“He’s a horse having his fourth start and he carried top-weight in a £200,000 handicap – and he’s won like that, he’s a very classy horse.”

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