Murphy hopeful of good run in Warwick showpiece
THE Class 2 Entire Cheltenham Festival On Racing UK Budbrooke Handicap Chase over two and a half miles will be the highlight in the seven-race card at Warwick's Budbroke Chase Family Fun Day on Friday, writes David Hucker.
This year’s race has something to live up if it is to match last year’s running when less than half a length separated the first three home.
Knockgraffon is set to carry top weight and Wilmcote trainer Olly Murphy is hopeful of a good run, saying on his Betfair blog earlier this week: “He's in good form and was in the process of running a nice race when falling at Wetherby.”
“Brian Hughes is riding and he won on him up at Musselburgh and I'm hoping he has a good each-way chance.”
Templehills pulled up in the race 12 months ago, but has become a bit of a standing dish at Warwick, having run three times over the course in his last five starts. Two weeks ago, he was beaten a long way by Casse Tete and will have to be on his best form to turn the tables this time.
King’s Odyssey ran well behind the useful Frodon at Cheltenham on his latest start, but the one that catches the eye is Dan Skelton’s Cobra De Mai who hasn’t run since November and would be returning after a wind operation.
With entry to the main enclosure reduced to just £5 for adults and children admitted free, the Budbroke Chase Family Fun Day is very much aimed at those looking for entertainment during half-term.
Gates open at 12.35pm and racegoers will be greeted with live music from The Peas and balloon art from Mr Twister.
The first race, the British Stallion Studs EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier), is due off at 1.50pm and Nicky Henderson and Ben Pauling both have four entries. With Henderson again leading the trainers’ championship table, his runners are always worth a look.
Alan King and Olly Murphy dominate the entries for the second race, the Whitson Bloodstock Juvenile Hurdle, although Murphy isn’t optimistic about his trio.
“Eolian and Zamalight will be making their stable debuts. Both go nicely at home, are fit and well, but may need the experience having their first start over hurdles,” he said.
“Simafar was very disappointing on his stable debut and he'll have to improve significantly to trouble the judge,” added Murphy.
The consistent Socksy should go well in the Faller Refunds At 188Bet Mares' Handicap Chase (Qualifier For The Challenger Mares' Staying Chase Series Final).
Max Dynamo has yet to win after seven outings over jumps but, with the promising Charlie Hammond on board, could break his duck in the afternoon’s longest race, the 188Bet Download The App Hands And Heels Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles.
With 23 entries, the Six Nations Rugby At 188Bet Handicap Chase has an open look about it, but Talk Of The South, runner up over the course last month, could go one better from the same handicap mark.
There is not much form to go on in the concluding British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, but Midnightreferendum ran with promise on her debut at Towcester and may step up on this easier track.
For ticket information, call 01926 405560, or go to www.warwickracecourse.co.uk