BY CHRIS MCNULTY
LETTERKENNY jockey Martin Harley was celebrating yesterday after guiding Samitar to victory in the 1,000 Guineas at The Curragh.
The success aboard the Mick Channon-trained mount was his first success in one of the Classics.
The 2001 Apprentice Jockey of the Year, Harley’s star continues to rise.
Samitar was a well-backed 12/1 chance, but having faltered in a charge for the French 1,000 Guineas wasn’t seen to be in with much of a chance.
However, under a confident and controlled ride from Harley, Samitar was first past the post.
“She’s been working good and a big thanks to the boss and the staff back home,” beamed a delighted Harley.”Two furlongs down she was never going to get beat – she was travelling like the winner all the way.”It’s an amazing feeling.”
Aidan O’Brien’s fancied Homecoming Queen was sent to lead, but weakened at a crucial stage
And with Harley a focussed jockey, Samitar won with a length and a half to spare on O’Brien’s outsider Ishvana.
Winning trainer Mick Channon is well known to the sporting public of Donegal. A former soccer player at the top level in England, he had a very brief stint at Finn Harps in the 1980s.
And yesterday he was full of praise for Harley.
He said: “The owner believed in me by putting Martin on and he got it spot-in – she was ridden with confidence.”Martin’s very confident and is a very hard worker.”