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Spain: O'Connor lands Mijas highlight on Montalban.

Warren O'Connor's bright start to his new job with German trainer Christian von der Recke continued when he rode Montalban to victory in the pounds 64,785 Gran Premio Dia de Andalucia, Europe's richest race on dirt, at Mijas yesterday.

Montalban scored by half a length from Jafar, with Sibiri Song third and another of the four German runners, Pappus, fourth. Von der Recke, who has now won races in 11 different countries, had finished third with Nova in the first running of the 12-furlong contest last year.

O'Connor started his new job with three winners on the first weekend of the month, including the first winner of the new turf season, at Dsseldorf. He followed with a double at Neuss the next day, on Euro Falcon in the first Listed event of the year, the Sandbahn Grand Prix, and Montalban in a minor conditions event.

Montalban, who was bred by Lord Huntingdon, has now run four times this season, starting with a narrow defeat in a skijoring race-when a horse's partner is pulled on skis-at St Moritz, when driven by his owner, Harald Kronseder. He followed that with a fifth in the Grosser Preis von St Moritz, again on the snow, before von der Recke tried him on dirt for the first time at Neuss.

Persian Ruler, who started favourite, finished a disappointing eighth of the 17 runners yesterday, while another disappointment was the ex-French Tailfeather, ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

Murtagh was also out of the frame in the Premio Farnesio, a handicap won by Jimmy Fortune on the Colin Tinkler-trained Istihsaan, and the Premio Quinault, which was won by Mister Quicksand, trained by Mick Lambert and ridden by Paul Fredericks.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2002
Words:282
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