Tag Archive for: Olly Murphy

The Wolf spearheads Murphy’s Musselburgh team

Olly Murphy is looking forward to sending a small team of horses to Scotland for the bet365 Festival Trials meeting at Musselburgh this weekend.

The Stratford handler is sending The Wolf on the long journey north for Saturday’s bet365 Edinburgh National, while Restandbethankful is primed for the bet365 Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Sunday.

The Wolf, who was runner-up to Full Back at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, is one of seven runners declared for Saturday’s £50,000 feature, with Welsh Grand National runner-up Highland Hunter and last season’s Scottish Grand National winner Mighty Thunder among his rivals.

Murphy said: “The Wolf is well up to winning a good handicap. He just lets you down the odd time, but he’s got a good engine.

“I think the Edinburgh National will suit him well.”

Murphy has also declared Calipso Collonges for Saturday’s bet365 Auld Yin Conditional Jockeys’ Veterans’ Handicap Chase, while the following afternoon Restandbethankful will step up in grade after winning for the third time over hurdles in a handicap at Huntingdon on his latest appearance.

“The race and track will suit Restandbethankful. I’m looking forward to running him,” Murphy added.

Another potential Sunday runner for the trainer is Swinging London, who could make his British debut in the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle.

Trained on the Flat in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, the Dark Angel gelding was placed in two Irish maiden hurdles for Ellmarie Holden last year before changing hands for £60,000.

Murphy anticipating bold Lingfield show from Brewin’upastorm

Olly Murphy expects Brewin’upastorm to make his presence felt in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Hurdle at Lingfield on Sunday.

The nine-year-old made an excellent start to his season when securing his seventh career victory in a conditions event at Aintree in October.

He was well fancied to follow up in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day – and still held every chance when challenging eventual winner Stormy Ireland and crashing out at the final flight.

Murphy reports Brewin’upastorm to be none the worse for that spill and views this £100,000 contest as too good an opportunity to miss with his two-and-a-half-mile specialist.

He said: “He’s in good nick and if he reproduces his Aintree or his Cheltenham run, he’s going to be bang there.

“It’s a £100,000 race and he’s come out of Cheltenham very well. Laura Collett has done a lot of schooling with him and we’re looking forward to having a go.

“There’s only two other races for him this season and they’re the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell and the Aintree Hurdle and there’s a big gap between Lingfield and Fontwell.”

With Miranda and Lucky Max both declared non runners, Brewin’upastorm will face just two rivals, headed by Gavin Cromwell’s Irish raider Darver Star.

The 10-year-old was placed in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2020 and enjoyed a confidence-boosting victory at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.

Darver Star after winning at Punchestown
Darver Star after winning at Punchestown (Alan Magee/PA)

“I was delighted with him the last day – it was a massive improvement. As the race developed he warmed up into it and it was great to get his head in front again,” said Cromwell.

“There’s some good prize money up for grabs at Lingfield and we’re looking forward to running him.”

Testing conditions will hold no fears for Gary Moore’s Goshen, but he needs to bounce back from an underwhelming effort at Ascot.

Moore said: “He’s in good order and the trip should be all right for him.

“The only problem he’s got is going left-handed, but hopefully he can sort it out round there on a bit of softer ground.”

Estacas brings a little international flavour to proceedings in the opening Winter Million Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Andreas Wohler’s German raider bids to double his tally on British soil after making a winning debut at Ascot in October and the form has worked out, with the runner-up and fourth winning since.

Wohler – who has again booked Jamie Moore for the ride – is hoping his charge can earn himself a shot at the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham with another victory.

He said: “I’m very happy with him. He has improved since his last race at Ascot – he was a bit babyish there. I think he has to improve to be competitive.

“It’s good to see there is good prize money on offer. It looks a nice weekend at Lingfield.

“If everything goes well we would like to go to Cheltenham, but we’ll take it one race at a time.”

Murphy looking to Brewin’Upastorm to realise Relkeel plan

Brewin’Upastorm will take on six rivals in the Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Olly Murphy’s representative impressed on his seasonal reappearance at Aintree and the trainer is keen to see if he can replicate that form on his return to a track where he unseated Richard Johnson in the 2020 Arkle Chase.

Murphy said: “He is in good form and this has been the plan for a long time, so trip, ground, track should all be A1 and I’m really looking forward to running him.

“If he turns up in the same form as he did at Aintree, hopefully he will be bang there.

“He is the form horse coming into the race and Guard Your Dreams is going up in trip, so I’m really looking forward to running him and it will be really interesting to see if he can back his Aintree run up.

“He should definitely like the ground as he has won on heavy ground before.”

Heading the opposition is McFabulous, who locks horns again after being beaten five and a half lengths by Murphy’s horse in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in February.

McFabulous is making a belated seasonal bow and trainer Paul Nicholls is hopeful he can turn the tables with a pull at the weights.

He said: “Brewin’Upastorm beat him at Fontwell in the spring, but we are 6lb better off for being beaten just over five lengths that day.

“He had a little setback earlier in the season and that is why he is later coming out.

“We got a feeling all last season he was struggling with his breathing, but he has had a breathing operation and that should help him a little bit.

“Two and a half miles first time out should suit him well. He has had an away day and done everything nicely and he has jumped well.

“He has never been a flashy work horse, but he has done loads of work and he is fit. He is always good fresh and we are hopeful of a good run.”

In contrast, Guard Your Dreams will lack nothing for fitness, having had three runs this season, latterly landing the Grade Two International Hurdle over two miles and one furlong.

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies feels that going back up in trip “will hold no fears”, having started his campaign with victory over two and a half miles on the Old Course at Cheltenham.

Guard Your Dreams has trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies in bullish form
Guard Your Dreams has trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies in bullish form (David Davies/PA)

“He won there last time and enjoys the track,” said Twiston-Davies. “Hopefully he’ll win.

“It’s obviously a lot trickier race, but we will do our best.”

Willie Mullins fields an intriguing contender in Stormy Ireland, who was beaten 36 lengths by Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on her seasonal debut.

On The Blind Side, runner-up to Thomas Darby in the Long Distance Hurdle before finishing sixth to stablemate Champ in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, represents Nicky Henderson.

The Evan Williams-trained Dans Le Vent completes the field, with his trainer keen to see if he can back up his victory over an extended three miles in a Haydock Grade Three.

Dans Le Vent (left) represents the Williams team
Dans Le Vent (left) represents the Williams team (Simon Marper/PA)

“He’s got a small penalty, I don’t want him to carry a big weight in a handicap so we’ll chance our arm in that,” said Williams.

“He produced a great performance at Haydock. We’re stepping back in trip, but it’s a stiff track and up in class. He’s obviously wrong at the weights in so many ways and Isabel (Williams, daughter) can’t claim. But we’re going to enjoy the day.

“It’ll be a smashing bit of fun. We’re going to enjoy him in a few of those races and see if we can pick up a bit of prize-money.

“It will be great experience for Isabel. Mr Gambarini (owner) is insistent she keeps the ride so we’re going to enjoy the experience.”

Paul Webber’s Indefatigable was declared a non-runner on Friday on account of the soft ground.

Coole Cody was a Cheltenham winner last time out
Coole Cody was a Cheltenham winner last time out (David Davies/PA)

The Grade Three Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase sees 16 runners going to post with the Williams-trained Coole Cody bidding to replicate his win in the Racing Post Gold Cup over course and distance.

Williams added: “He did a bit of work on Wednesday morning. Everything is good. It was tremendous the last day. The horse has done nothing wrong and I can’t believe we’re going back there for another handicap on the same track.

“Obviously, it will be incredibly difficult but he loves it there.”

The Dan Skelton-trained Alnadam is among his chief rivals. He signed off with a fair seventh to Vintage Clouds in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival meeting in March and made a belated seasonal debut when last of four to Bravemansgame at Haydock.

Skelton said: “Alnadam will love the ground and he is in good form. We have been keeping him for one of these races – we just had to find the softest ground.”

Olly Murphy thrilled with Thomas Darby effort

Olly Murphy will continue to aim Thomas Darby at the top staying hurdle races following his creditable effort at Ascot on Saturday.

Races such as the Cleeve Hurdle, Stayers’ Hurdle and the Liverpool Hurdle will be considered after he backed up his Long Distance Hurdle win at Newbury with fourth place in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

“He ran really well, we’re very happy. I thought he’d win at the back of two out, just where he usually picks up and takes off. He just flattened out and got very tired from the back of the last,” said Murphy.

“I’d have loved an extra week with him, but no excuses on the day.

“He’s a horse that has proved he can compete at the highest level and whether we go Cleeve Hurdle and then Cheltenham or we go straight to Cheltenham or Cleeve Hurdle and Aintree, I’m not sure. But he’s a very good horse.

“He got a good ride off Fergus Gregory having his first ride in a Grade One and he’s a horse that’s got plenty of ability.”

Brewin’upastorm was hugely impressive at Aintree on his comeback
Brewin’upastorm was hugely impressive at Aintree on his comeback (David Davies/PA)

Murphy also had news on Brewin’upastorm who is on course for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 1.

The eight-year-old made a triumphant return in the Betway Hurdle at Aintree last month after 212 days off the track.

“He’s good. I’m looking forward to running him at Cheltenham in 10 days or so,” said Murphy.

“He goes there a fresh horse. He’s really well in himself and I couldn’t be happier with him.”

I K Brunel steams to Newbury success

Olly Murphy was delighted to have engineered a successful plan with I K Brunel at Newbury.

The Stratford trainer deliberately targeted the Prodec Networks Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase as the sponsors co-own the seven-year-old with the McNeill Family.

I K Brunel (100-30)  left it late to nail Colonial Dreams on what was his second start since returning from 226 days off the track.

He tackled the leader at the final fence and got the better of the battle by a neck under Adrian Heskin.

“It was nice to get him back on track. He’s a horse we’ve finally worked has to be very fresh. He got a good ride off Adrian Heskin,” said Murphy.

“It was nice the owners were able to win their own prize money back. They sponsored the race. It was a well-executed plan and it was great he won and all the owners were there as well.

“We’ll freshen him up and we’ll look for a handicap chase in about six weeks.”

Trainer Fergal O’Brien and jockey Paddy Brennan continued their excellent season by completing a double with Pull Again Green and Poetic Music.

Pull Again Green (100-30) capitalised on a final-flight mistake by Wonderwall to land the Betvictor Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas EBF Stallions “NH” Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier.

Paddy Brennan drives Pull Again Green to victory in the Betvictor Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas EBF Stallions “NH” Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury
Paddy Brennan drives Pull Again Green to victory in the Betvictor Wishes Everyone A Merry Christmas EBF Stallions “NH” Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury (David Davies/PA)

The five-year-old got away from the last well to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Poetic Music (10-11 favourite) looked a smart prospect when making a winning debut for the O’Brien team in the Lengthen The Odds At BetVictor Fillies’ “Junior” Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The three-year-old filly had a 7lb penalty for an opening success at Market Rasen for John Butler but she overcame that with a strong finish to beat Miss Curiosity by two and a half lengths.

Forever William outstayed his rivals to make a successful debut over jumps in the BetVictor Loyalty Club Juvenile Hurdle.

Forever William (left) takes the lead to win the BetVictor Loyalty Club Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury
Forever William (left) takes the lead to win the BetVictor Loyalty Club Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury (David Davies/PA)

After eight failed attempts on the Flat, Alan King’s three-year-old had an instant impact when switching disciplines as he swept to a cosy victory.

Forever William (6-1) jumped into the lead three out and ran on well to score by four and a quarter lengths from Dr T J Eckleburg in the hands of Tom Cannon.

I Am Maximus (2-5 favourite) landed the odds in smooth fashion to get off the mark at the second attempt over jumps in the Prodec Networks Maiden Hurdle for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville.

I Am Maximus was cut to 20-1 from 25-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham with Paddy Power.

Murphy mulling Long Walk outing for Thomas Darby

Olly Murphy has yet to decide whether to run Thomas Darby in the Howden Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday week.

The Stratford trainer reports the eight-year-old to be in fine shape following his victory in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, but is in no rush to commit Thomas Darby to the Grade One over an extended three miles.

“He’s in really good form. It’s still up in the air whether I’m going to go to Ascot with him,” said Murphy.

“I’ll look at the back end of the week or early next week, but I couldn’t be happier with him.

“He’s come out of Newbury really well. I haven’t done a lot with him.”

Thomas Darby is a general 7-1 chance with bookmakers for the Long Walk.

Itchy Feet is likely to run over the Christmas/New Year period (
Itchy Feet is likely to run over the Christmas/New Year period (Steven Paston/PA)

Murphy is to scour the programme book to find a suitable opportunity over the festive period for Itchy Feet.

The smart seven-year-old chaser has run two big races in defeat so far this season, finishing second to Allmankind in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree and to Bravemansgame in a Graduation Chase at Haydock.

“He came out of Haydock really well. It was a really pleasing run in hindsight. I’m not quite sure where we are going to go next but he’s in great form,” said Murphy.

“He deserves to win a nice race. He’s been ultra consistent this year and I’m looking forward to finding something suitable for him over the Christmas and New Year period once I’ve spoken to connections.”

Conditions key to International run for Hunters Call

Hunters Call could attempt to become the oldest horse to win the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Trainer Olly Murphy would seriously consider running the 11-year-old in the Grade Two contest over an extended two miles if the race cut up or the ground was very soft.

Three 10-year-olds – Birds Nest (in 1980), Relkeel (1999) and My Tent Or Yours (2017) – have won the race since it was first run in 1963.

Hunters Call overcame a 249-day absence to win a handicap hurdle in good style over nearly two and a half miles at Bangor last month.

“We’ll just see what the weather does. Dropping back to two miles probably isn’t ideal, but if the ground was very soft I’d certainly think about running him,” said Murphy.

“He’s in good form. It’s not easy now with the mark he’s got aged 11, turning 12, but we’ll certainly look at it.

“I don’t know how many will run. If it cuts up, I’d definitely take my chance but at his age I didn’t think he’d be running in an International Hurdle.”

Last year’s winner Song For Someone, trained by Tom Symonds, features among nine entries as does David Pipe’s Adagio and Sceau Royal from Alan King’s stable.

There are two potential Irish raiders – Henry de Bromhead’s Ballyadam and the Paul Hennessy-trained Heaven Help Us – while Fusil Raffles was also confirmed for the Racing Post Gold Cup on the same card. Guard Your Dreams and Wilde About Oscar complete the list.

Trainer Olly Murphy
Trainer Olly Murphy (David Davies/PA)

Murphy could let Barony Legends line-up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles after the five-year-old made a winning debut over the smaller obstacles at Lingfield six weeks ago.

“I don’t think he’d be badly wrong in the weights. I’ll have a look at it. He’s not a bad horse and he could well run,” said the Stratford handler.

“He’s a horse that will stay, so the trip will not inconvenience him.”

The 10 entries are headed by Charles Byrnes’ Irish raider Blazing Khal, the Paul Nicholls-trained Gelino Bello and Evan Williams’ Current Mood, who were first, second and third respectively over two miles and five furlongs at Cheltenham four weeks ago.

My Drogo could bid to make amends for a dramatic exit at the second-last fence on his fencing debut in the bearrene.com Novices’ Chase.

Dan Skelton’s Grade One-winning hurdler came down with his only opponent looking held, handing the race to Gin On Lime, who almost came down too.

Her trainer Henry de Bromhead is represented by Bob Olinger, who had no problem scoring on his chasing bow at Gowran last month.

Gordon Elliott’s Fancy Foundations is a second Irish-trained possible among seven entries.

Thomas Darby returns to top form with Long Distance glory

Thomas Darby returned to his best to run out a ready winner of the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Always highly regarded by Olly Murphy, Thomas Darby was on the verge of becoming a little disappointing but fitted with a tongue tie for the first time, travelled sweetly in the hands of Sean Bowen.

For Paisley Park, the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle winner, a change of tactics were adopted and despite shying away from the starting tape when it was raised, Aidan Coleman soon had him in a share of the lead with On The Blind Side.

Emma Lavelle’s popular hurdler did not seem to hit his usual flat spot at any stage and was still travelling well until landing awkwardly three out, which then put him under pressure.

Thomas Darby loomed up to challenge after the penultimate obstacle and Paisley Park had no answer, dropping back to third.

On The Blind Side, ridden by James Bowen, brother of the winning jockey, kept up his honest gallop to the line, but Thomas Darby had a comfortable two and a quarter lengths in hand.

Mrs Milner was another who briefly threatened but eventually came home fourth, while Indefatigable and Lisnagar Oscar were disappointing.

Betfair cut the winner to 16-1 from 40s for the Stayers’ Hurdle in March.

Murphy said: “Turning in, I thought ‘he’s lost all my trust’, but then he has come hard back on the bridle. I have always said he is a good horse and while I felt ‘he has always let me down’ is probably too strong, I just thought I would stick a tongue tie on him and he has seen his race out really strong.

“He made a mistake down the back and he is very good horse on his day. He has got there plenty soon enough and hasn’t done a stroke when he hit the front.

“We’ll look at something like Ascot (Long Walk Hurdle) over Christmas. He had a hard race but not a terribly hard one. Sean didn’t pick up his stick on him from the second last to the line.

“I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a Stayers’ Hurdle horse – there is not a lot on this side of the water. The Irish have a stronger hand than us, but I just want to see him go and back this up.”

Thomas Darby pulls clear of On The Blind Side
Thomas Darby pulls clear of On The Blind Side (Adam Davy/PA)

Henderson said of the runner-up: “He is just a star. He tries and tries and tries. And he fought them all off and we were giving the winner weight (4lb).

“He has to go to Ascot but I am going to go there with Buzz. But what else can you do? He will go up for that and he is out of handicaps, so you haven’t got much choice.

“They will probably finish fourth and fifth for all I know, but Buzz is going to the Long Walk and he will have to go there too.”

Ascot could also be on Paisley Park’s agenda.

Lavelle said: “We will go home and see how he is. He ran a solid enough race. He travelled well today and he jumped great, but he just hasn’t quickened and others have.

“It might just be that when the ground is softer that nothing can quicken and he doesn’t get exposed to not having that turn of gear at the end.

“Can we find a four-mile hurdle? He’s run grand without being brilliant and I think ultimately rain is what we need and that will help him.

“What I liked about him today is that he travelled well and the thing about jumping fences is you have to travel to jump, so I would be more interested on the back of that about jumping a fence, but Andrew (Gemmell, part-owner) is keen to go for the Long Walk – he has won it twice – and then decide. Ascot is probably more of a stamina test for him.

“The cheekpieces helped – but I wanna win!”

New Lingfield feature a possible option for Brewin’upastorm

Olly Murphy is considering the inaugural Winter Million meeting for Brewin’upastorm.

Hugely impressive on his reappearance at Aintree over two and a half miles, there is a race over the same distance at Lingfield on January 23, the Winter Million Hurdle race, worth £100,000.

The alternative option is the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, where £70,000 is up for grabs in the Grade Two.

“He was very good that day at Aintree,” said Murphy.

“There’s a lovely race for him at Lingfield at their big meeting, so I don’t know whether we’re going to go for the Relkeel or Lingfield – or even both.

“He’s in good form but he definitely wouldn’t run before the Relkeel if that is where he goes – he’s very good fresh.

“I think the key to him is having him fresh, and maybe also riding him a bit more positively than we ever have.

“He’s a horse who is slowly getting his confidence back, it’s nearly there. As we saw at Aintree he’s very good on his day and I think he’s well up to winning a Grade One.”

Brewin’upastorm set Relkeel assignment

Olly Murphy is to step Brewin’upastorm back up to graded company following his victory in the Betway Hurdle at Aintree.

The Stratford trainer has the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day in mind for the Milan gelding, who ran out a convincing nine-length winner from If The Cap Fits.

Brewin’upastorm was successful at the same Grade Two level in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in February and ended the campaign finishing fifth in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle.

“I was delighted with his run. He’s come out of it really well. The plan will be to to freshen him up now and go for the Relkeel on the first of January,” said Murphy.

“I’m not in a massive rush with him, but it was a very good performance.

“We always thought he was a very good horse and hopefully I’ve got him back to a level where I think he can perform at.”

Brewin’upastorm may be back in big time after Aintree romp

Olly Murphy hopes Brewin’upastorm may yet make his mark at the highest level after a successful start to his campaign at Aintree.

The Warwickshire trainer has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds the eight-year-old, who has been placed in Grade One company on multiple occasions and last season won the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.

Having undergone a wind operation for a second time during the summer, Brewin’upastorm was a 5-1 shot for his return to action in the Betway Hurdle – and he delivered a dominant display.

After travelling powerfully into the straight, Aidan Coleman’s mount stamped his class from the second-last – powering nine lengths clear of If The Cap Fits, who pipped Lisnagar Oscar to second.

Murphy said: “I thought it was a very good performance, giving 6lb to the majority of the field.

“I’ve never shied away – I’ve always thought this lad was very good, (but) he has to have everything go his way.

“He got a terrible fright when he unseated in Cheltenham the guts of two years ago, and it’s taken me a long time to get this horse back.”

On future plans, he added: “He’s a hard horse to campaign now in England really – because he’s probably not a three miler, and he’s definitely not a two miler.

“I’m not sure where we’ll go next, but he might one day go over the water (Ireland) for those small-field graded races over there.

“He can be very bad and put in a lackadaisical round of jumping, but I hope he can win a Grade One one day – because on his day he can be very good.”

Linelee King made a winning debut over fences
Linelee King made a winning debut over fences (Simon Marper/PA)

Brewin’upastorm’s victory completed a double on the card for Murphy and Coleman, with 17-2 shot Linelee King earlier winning the Betway Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

“He’s a nice horse who didn’t achieve what I thought he’d achieve over hurdles, but his schooling over fences has been very good – and for a horse having his first run over fences, I thought he jumped immaculately,” said the trainer.

“He’s a horse who is going to carry on improving, and I hope he could win a nice race at some point.”

Hillcrest leads the way at Aintree
Hillcrest leads the way at Aintree (Simon Marper/PA)

Hillcrest carried the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings to victory in the Betway EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

Making his first appearance since landing a Wetherby bumper in the spring, the Henry Daly-trained six-year-old travelled strongly for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey under Richard Patrick.

In the end, the 11-4 joint-favourite was made to pull out all the stops by Our Jet – with three-quarters of a length separating the pair at the line.

Triple Grand National-winning owner Hemmings loved nothing more than a winner at Aintree, and Daly was visibly moved after this first Aintree success in his famous colours since his death.

He said: “For this horse to win today, with lots of Trevor’s family here – it’s pretty cool.

“He might be very good, we’ll see. A slow-run race like that was not playing to his strengths, and he bunny-hopped one or two (hurdles), but the faster it got the better it suited.

“He’s a big boy – a classic ‘T Hemmings’. My measuring stick goes up to 18 hands, and it won’t go over him! I don’t know how big he is because of that.

“We’ll crack on over hurdles, and try and teach him a bit.”

Koshari (left) on his way to winning at Aintree
Koshari (left) on his way to winning at Aintree (Simon Marper/PA)

There were scenes of jubilation in the winner’s enclosure after 80-1 shot Koshari sprang a surprise in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle.

Formerly trained by Willie Mullins, the nine-year-old walked through the Doncaster sales ring unsold last month, but was subsequently snapped up by Northern Ireland-based David Christie.

Given a patient ride by Jonathan Moore, Koshari finished with a flourish to deny Deise Aba by a neck, with Remastered a close-up third.

“I was expecting a good run and I couldn’t believe the price – the boys (owners) were on him each-way,” said Christie.

“He’s a good horse. It’s not that long ago he won a hundred-grand race in Punchestown, and he was sixth in the Galway Plate in the summer, which takes some doing.

“He went to the sales and wasn’t sold, and I just happened to be at Thurles one day and chatted to Ruby Walsh and he said ‘that horse is fine’, so we bought him privately.

“Ruby actually rang me yesterday, and there’s no better man than him to ride any racecourse over here. He said just sit and sit and come at the last and he was spot-on, so well played to Ruby!

“These folks have never been over here with a horse of any kind. This is their first trip to Aintree – and isn’t that what racing’s all about?”

Darling Du Large was a 6-1 winner of the Betway Supports Safer Gambling Week Handicap Chase for Tom George and Jonathan Burke, while the concluding Betway ‘Junior’ NH Flat Race went to the Milton Harris-trained Legionar (100-30), ridden by Mitchell Bastyan.

Haydock next for Itchy Feet

Itchy Feet is set to head to Haydock following a fine run on his seasonal return in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

The seven-year-old was beaten only a length by Allmankind on his first start since he was third to Fakir d’Oudairies in the Grade One Marsh Chase at Aintree in April.

After last month’s pipe-opener, trainer Olly Murphy is targeting Haydock’s Double Daily Rewards With Betfair Graduation Chase on November 20.

The Stratford trainer said: “He’s good, he ran very well. Dan’s (Skelton) horse (Allmankind) has had a run this year, and that lack of sharpness just caught him out.

“He will step up in trip before too long and hopefully he will win a nice race this season. He deserves to. Stepping up in trip is going to be imperative from now on.

“There’s a race at Haydock, an intermediate chase, for horses that have no won more than two races. We will look at something like that.”

Murphy has Aintree in mind this weekend, meanwhile, as a starting point for Brewin’upastorm’s season.

The eight-year-old, who ran both over fences and the smaller obstacles during the last campaign, is heading for Saturday’s Betway Hurdle over two and a half miles.

“He’s good and he goes to Aintree for the conditions hurdle,” said Murphy.

“I’m really looking forward to getting him started.”

Murphy delighted with victorious debuts for novice hurdlers

Olly Murphy predicts a bright future for Go Dante and Washington after the pair made winning debuts over jumps in the two divisions of the Halloween Novices’ Hurdle at Bangor on Tuesday.

Both were sent off short-priced favourites and were comfortable winners in the hands of Aidan Coleman.

Go Dante, who won his only bumper at Wincanton in March, took division one by 18 lengths while Washington, unbeaten in his two bumpers at Fakenham and Huntingdon, landed the second division by four and three-quarter lengths.

“They are both good and raw and there is an awful lot of improvement in every department,” said the Stratford trainer.

“It was the first time they’d both jumped on grass. They are going to be two nice horses for the future.

“Washington did everything wrong in the way he went through the race. He’s just going to have to learn to relax and race the right way.

“He will probably go somewhere with a small field the next day.

“I don’t know whether we will go small with Go Dante or run him at Cheltenham in November, but hopefully they will both be competing in some nice races later in the year.”

Copperless to miss early season but has County Hurdle target

Olly Murphy’s Copperless will miss the early part of the new campaign after suffering a stress fracture – and may make his seasonal debut at the Cheltenham Festival.

Copperless was last seen winning the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock in May, an eight-and-a-half-length victory which was rich compensation for a penultimate-flight fall on his previous start when going well at Aintree.

The County Hurdle is now on the agenda for the six-year-old.

“Copperless is going to miss the first half of the season, because he has picked up a stress fracture,” said Murphy.

Copperless winning at Taunton last term
Copperless winning at Taunton last term (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“The plan is to have him back for the second part of the season.

“He is going to miss a couple of months, and it is not ideal timing by any stretch of the imagination, but we will have him back for big festivals in the spring. I still think he has got a lovely mark.

“We might go straight to a County Hurdle – I would be looking at something like that, because I don’t think he would be ready much before that.”

Murphy’s Thomas Darby finished third behind Thyme Hill in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree on his last outing and is likely to remain at the same three-mile trip, with Wetherby’s Grade Two bet365 Hurdle identified as his starting point at the end of this month.

“Thomas Darby goes to Wetherby for the West Yorkshire Hurdle, then we can look at Newbury for the Long Distance Hurdle or the Long Walk at Ascot,” said the Warwickshire trainer.

“He is in great form, and I couldn’t be happier with him. I’m really looking forward to carrying on over three miles with him.

Olly Murphy's Thomas Darby
Olly Murphy’s Thomas Darby (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I don’t think his Aintree run was a fluke – I thought it was a hell of a performance.

“He came down to the last looking like he would win, but he just got out-battled up the straight by Roksana and Thyme Hill, so he is one to look forward to in that division.

“He has won and run well at Cheltenham, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t run up to form around there again. But that is still a long way off, and we have to get Wetherby out of the way first.”

Stablemate Brewin’upastorm tried his hand at chasing last term when running in both the Colin Parker and the Tingle Creek, but he quickly reverted to hurdling after finishing last on both occasions – and was subsequently a Grade Two winner when taking the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in February.

The eight-year-old was then fifth in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle and is due to start his campaign back at the same track early next month.

“He goes to Aintree on November 6 for a two-and-a-half-mile conditions hurdle,” said Murphy.

Brewin’upastorm at Cheltenham
Brewin’upastorm at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

“He wants two and a half miles, and that is what he will be aimed at throughout the season.

“I think if I did anything with him he would go up in trip, but I will stick to two and a half miles for the time being.

“He is in good form but he won’t jump a fence again. He did everything wrong at Aintree but still ran respectably in defeat.

“He got a terrible fright jumping a fence, and I don’t think there is any need at this stage of his career to go back and jump a fence.

“He is a good hurdler and he will pick up plenty of prize money jumping them.”

Olly Murphy rules Copperless out of Galway Hurdle

Copperless has been ruled out of the Guinness Galway Hurdle at Ballybrit next Thursday.

Trainer Olly Murphy has scratched the Swinton Hurdle winner from the valuable prize as he was not entirely happy with the six-year-old.

Murphy will now look nearer home for him to make his seasonal reappearance in the autumn, with the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November a probable target.

“He doesn’t run in Galway, he was scratched today,” said the Stratford handler.

“He’s absolutely fine. I just wasn’t 100 per cent happy with him. Going over there you have to be on your A game.

“We’ll look back at the English programme now and look for a nice race in the autumn. The Greatwood could be very likely.

“He was a very impressive horse when he won his last start and I just want to run him in the right race. Unfortunately, Galway isn’t going to be the right race just the way he is at the moment.”

Copperless had been as low as 10-1 second-favourite with some firms for the Galway showpiece.