Brewin’upastorm was an emphatic winner of Fontwell’s Loch Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle – at the chief expense of short-priced favourite McFabulous.
Olly Murphy’s eight-year-old, on his second start back over hurdles after two unsuccessful chasing efforts earlier in the season, followed up his impressive Taunton handicap victory in this Grade Two feature.
Brewin’upastorm, fancied for last year’s Arkle Challenge Trophy only to unseat his rider at Cheltenham, has no Festival entries this time round – and will instead be seen next in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting.
In receipt of 6lb from 4-6 shot McFabulous, he demonstrated he is a major force to be reckoned with at around this near two-and-a-half-mile trip over hurdles – striking from off the pace under Aidan Coleman to win by five and a half lengths at 3-1.
Murphy said: “I’m absolutely chuffed with that – he’s a very, very talented horse.
“It’s great to have that winning form at graded level.
“He got a very, very bad fright over fences – and things certainly didn’t go to plan on those runs.
“But Taunton was a great stepping stone, and then to win with as much authority as he did today in that company was very pleasing.”
Paul Nicholls’ McFabulous, so impressive in last month’s rerouted Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton, rarely looked happy – making a minor early mistake and a second more significant one in front of the stands on the first circuit.
As he began to labour behind the front-running Molly Ollys Wishes, it was obvious Brewin’upastorm was going much better – and he was not hard-pressed to lead between the last two flights and move easily clear, with McFabulous having to settle for second.
“The penalties worked in his favour today,” added Murphy.
“But if they’d been reversed, and everyone was getting penalties off him, it would have made no difference.
“The way he won, he absolutely bolted up.
“He saw the two-mile-three out very well today, and the plan will be to go straight to Aintree for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One there.”
The Warwickshire trainer has always had a high opinion of Brewin’upastorm, and is delighted to have had his faith repaid.
“He’s kind of knocked on the door as a novice over hurdles and over fences and never really won a nice race, so I was just chuffed for the horse that he’s won this race,” added Murphy.
“I’d say he’ll never jump a fence again. But if he can be a good hurdler that will suit me just fine.
“There’s plenty of avenues to go down there, and he’s one to look forward to now we’ve got his confidence back.”