Murphy back where he made his million

Conor Murphy on his way to a million

Conor Murphy on his way to a million

Last season’s Cheltenham Festival was a life changing experience for one man. Conor Murphy started the festival working in Nicky Henderson’s yard, where he was a stable groom. He ended it a millionaire.

Murphy had placed a £500 accumulator with Bet365 four months before the Festival, when there were good prices available on Sprinter Sacre, Finian’s Rainbow, Simonsig, Bobs Worth and Riverside Theatre. When they all came in, he had won over £1m, and didn’t need to work any more. He carried on at Henderson’s, though only for a few days.

Now, a year later, he hopes to take some more money away from the bookies, although he hasn’t attempted to repeat last year’s feat. This time round he’s backed Simonsig at 7/2 and Sprinter Sacre at evens, though he’s certainly got more on than the £20 special that Coral’s are offering.

Murphy has a good word for some other Henderson horses as you might expect. In particular Bobs Worth. He said, “If I were to have one bet all week, aside from the obvious ones, it would probably be Bobs Worth. He loves Cheltenham and I’m not worried he hasn’t run since the Hennessy. The Gold Cup trip will be perfect and the ground isn’t going to be a problem. He’s the one to beat.”

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How life has changed for Murphy in the past 12 months. Home is now Goshen, Kentucky, where he trains six horses and has another 20 he is preparing for others to train. The Skylight Training Center is funded largely by Sheik Fahad’s Pearl Bloodstock organisation, and Murphy is already making a success of things in America. He said, “I had my first winner two weeks ago with a horse called Gallant Eagle. It was at Beulah Park, which is probably the worst racetrack in America. I’ve had eight runners with a first, second, third, fourth and a few disappointments.” I reckon most trainers would settle for a 50% place rate.

But Murphy has a longer-term goal in mind, back this side of the Pond. He explained, “Jump racing is my passion, always has been, always will be. Seven Barrows has the very best of horses and I’ve missed the buzz of the build up to Cheltenham. I’d love to train in England or Ireland, but the prize money isn’t there for someone starting out.”

Is that a job application for when Henderson retires? He’s back at Cheltenham this week, and perhaps he’ll have a word with his old boss about it.

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