WILMCOTE trainer Olly Murphy started 2018 in the best possible style when landing an across-the-card New Year’s Day treble to take his tally to 30 for the season, writes David Hucker.
Murphy ended 2017 on a high when Hunters Call took the valuable Grade 3 Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on the Saturday before Christmas, lifting the stable’s prize money haul to over £200,000.
Seven runners on Boxing Day failed to add to the winning tally and Wood Pigeon, Murphy’s sole runner at Warwick on New Year’s Eve, got no further than the second fence.
But, the winners flowed again as top northern jockey Brian Hughes steered Knockgraffon to victory in Musselburgh’s £30,000 totequadpot “Auld Reekie” Handicap Chase and then More Than Luck andMullaghboy scored at Fakenham to take Murphy on to 30 winners in his first season at Warren Chase Stables.
Successful three times when trained by Dan Skelton, Knockgraffon was ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson when making his debut for Murphy at Cheltenham in December.
After finishing fifth, Johnson advised a step up in trip and he proved spot on as Knockgraffon stayed on strongly with Hughes to take the prize.