Murphy delivers positive report about Festival team

Olly Murphy has reported his string to be in good form ahead of Cheltenham.
Olly Murphy has reported his string to be in good form ahead of Cheltenham.

Olly Murphy has reported his string to be in good order ahead of next month’s Cheltenham Festival, as he prepares to send his strongest squad yet to the four-day meeting.

Murphy landed the first Grade 1 of his fledgling training career when Itchy Feet cruised clear of Midnight Shadow to take the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown earlier this month, and it is the six-year-old who leads the Stratford-based handler’s quest for a maiden Cheltenham Festival victory. 

“He couldn’t have been any more impressive at Sandown and he’s in good form. He’s back cantering away and we’re very much looking forward to running him in the Marsh.” Said the trainer regarding the son of Cima De Triomphe.

That Sandown victory came on the back off a facile 26-length win in a three-runner Leicester event, which was little more than a schooling in public exercise for last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third.

To then land a Grade 1 over fences on just a second start over the larger obstacles is no mean feat, particularly when you consider that he pecked on landing at the second last at Sandown, and Murphy thinks the experience of competing in the Scilly Isles will stand him in good stead. 

He said: “He’s still a little bit novicey and that experience will have done him the world of good. He looks a horse who appears to be on an upward curve and hopefully he’ll just keep improving through Cheltenham, where he ran well last year, and into next year.”

The Warren Chase handler has a strong hand in the novice chasing division, and could well get off to a flying start on the Tuesday with Brewin’upastorm, who’s not without a chance in the Arkle Trophy

Murphy said: “He’s in great form and I’m looking forward to running him in a strongly run two miles race which I think now is where he’ll be at his very best. He’s in a very good place and is very good fresh so it doesn’t bother me going there without a prep run.”

The seven-year-old, who finished fourth over hurdles in the Ballymore at the Festival 12 months ago, hasn’t been seen since making it two from two over fences at Taunton in November, and despite claiming some useful scalps in those outing, many have suggested that he doesn’t have the experience to play a part in the premier two-mile novice test at the Festival. 

However, it’s not something that’s phasing Murphy. He said: “I’ve no real concerns about a lack of experience, he’s a winner of a point-to-point and he got a very good taste of things the first time he ran over fences at Carlisle. They went very hard and he had to figure things out quickly and that should stand him in good stead.” 

Murphy has amassed 186 winners under Rules since joining the training ranks in 2017, but one thing that is yet to appear on the handler’s CV is a Festival victory. Along with the aforementioned duo, the man who spent a period of time working as Gordon Elliott’s assistant in Ireland has assembled a select squad to go into battle with at Cheltenham.  

Skandiburg leads a small but select team in the handicaps and it would be nice to think we could come away with something.” Said Murphy of his Festival chances away from the Grade 1 contests. 

Skandiburg, could be joined at the Festival by The Butcher Said, Strong Glance and The Wolf, who are the other Warren Chase inmates holding Cheltenham handicap entries. 

However, one horse who looks increasingly likely to skip the Festival is Thomas Darby, with last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle second instead targeting a Grade 1 mission at Aintree in April, and a tilt at the Aintree Hurdle over two and a half miles. 

He said: “I haven’t really bought into all the Champion Hurdle chat to be honest; he needs two and a half miles. If it came up very very soft, we might consider it, so we’ll leave him in for now, but I would say it’s very unlikely.

“I just think two and a half miles brought out plenty of improvement at Ascot, Richard (Johnson) said he was staying right on up to the line and hopefully he’ll find further improvement as he’s still very much unexposed. So it’s fingers crossed!”

Cheltenham Festival Tips
Advert Disclaimer is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.

£20 Risk Free Bet Refunded In CASH On Losing Bets (APP Only)

#AD New customers only. Deposit £20 using card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using promo code M40 only. 1x per customer. Min £/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets of 2 x £/€15 issued after first qualifying bet settles. Max £/€10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable bonus: £25. Casino bonus expires after 72 hours. UK & Eire only. Additional T&Cs, including free-bet, game, location, payment method and stake contributions apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+
Welcome Offer
#AD Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+
Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 on Horse Racing at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. | Please gamble responsibly
Bet £10 Get £30 + 30 Free Spins
#AD New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 30 Free Spins on Blue Wizard at £0.10 per spin. 7-day expiry. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Get Up To £100 In Free Bets
#AD New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD. New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. 18+
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
Money back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses + £10 Casino
New customers only. 18+, Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Racing 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 35x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Racing bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. #ad
Bet £10 Get £5 Or 50% Losses Back Up To £25
To activate your Sportsbook 50% Back Welcome Offer, simply deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice at odds of evens (2.00) or greater. If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting (23:59), we'll refund 50% of your first day's losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (Minimum 3 bets required). If your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at minimum odds evens or greater. T&Cs apply. 18+
£10 Welcome Offer
#AD UK & ROI customers only. 18+. Place your first bet on sports pools and if it loses we’ll refund your stake in cash. Max refund is £10. Qualifying bet is the first sports pool bet added to the betslip. Ten to Follow bets do not qualify. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. T&Cs apply
Today's Most tipped
Add All Tips To Betslip
Latest racing results
1st Lady Excalibur
2nd Last Of A Legend
3rd Good Look Charm
1st The Model Kingdom
2nd Kilbarry Chloe
3rd Ottizzini
1st Kicking Princess
2nd Diamondinthemud
3rd Scarlet Witch
View All Today's Results