3rd Dec 2017

December Meeting | Declarations

One of National Hunt racing’s newest trainers, 25-year-old Olly Murphy, has a huge day in prospect at Fakenham this afternoon (Monday) when the north Norfolk track stages its fourth meeting of the season.

Murphy, based at Warren Chase stables in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, had a double at the last Fakenham meeting.

This afternoon he has a favourite’s chance in four of the six races, all of his horses being ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson.

The young trainer spent time learning the trade with Brian Meehan and Alan King before joining his close friend Gordon Elliott in Ireland where he spent four years as an assistant trainer.

Now he is keen to make an impact in the sport and has started the season in style with 22 winners from 103 runs, an excellent strike rate of 21 per cent.

Both runners who helped Murphy to a Fakenham double at the last meeting, are back in action. Mullaghboy is Johnson’s mount in the opening 1pm handicap hurdle in which six run, his main rival looking to be Mamoo for Trevor Whelan and trainer Neil King, the gelding fourth at the course in October.

Johnson and Murphy have Ballinslea Bridge in the 2pm novice hurdle. The five-year-old was second at Newcastle mid November after finishing runner-up at Fakenham on November 1 to Kalochi, trained by Stuart Edmunds. Edmunds trains Ballinslea Bridge’s main rival in the four-runner contest, Classic Ben under Cieran Gethings, second at Sandown last time.

Saucysioux under Johnson for Murphy, won last Monday at Ludlow having scored at Fakenham the previous week and goes in the Simon Bell Memorial Hurdle at 2.30pm, the mare facing four rivals, headed by Jonjo O’Neill’s Walter Oneightone under Killian Moore, an October Bangor winner.

In the 3.30pm finale, the Johnson and Murphy partnership introduce Oxford Blu to jumping in the juvenile hurdle. Previously trained on the flat at Newmarket by Sir Mark Prescott, the gelding scored on his last flat outing, at Chepstow in August.

Richest prize of the day is for the 1.30pm chase in which D’Nailor under Sean Quinlan for Jennie Candish is the likely favourite having been third at the course previously while the 3pm chase features seven runners, headed by Yourholidayisover under Brian Hughes for Tom Gretton, a Taunton winner in the spring.


Selections: 1pm Mullaghboy; 1.30pm D’Nailor; 2pm Classic Ben; 2.30pm Saucysioux; 3pm Lovely Bubbly; 3.30pm War At Sea.

{Words by Terry Readhead}

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David Hunter