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Olly Murphy bidding for Grand National Festival glory with strong team

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Olly Murphy bidding for Grand National Festival glory with strong team


Olly Murphy has made clear his intentions of finishing an excellent season with a Grade One winner at the 2022 Randox Grand National Festival in two week’s time.

The Wilmcote-based trainer has enjoyed a sensational season by his own standards with no less than 84 winners to his name and he will be sending a strong team to Merseyside for the three-day meeting which gets underway on Thursday, 7th April.

Having easily surpassed his previous best season for winners and smashing past the £1 million prize money barrier, the handler will be eager to open his account at the very highest level for the campaign.

Murphy’s most notable contender is Brewin’upastorm who will bid to improve upon his fifth-placed finish in the 2021 Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade One). The Barbara Hester-owned horse finished second in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in his last outing in February.

Murphy said: “We have had a great year and it would be nice to cap it off with a winner at Aintree.

“Brewin’upastorm will go to the Aintree Hurdle – I’m going to pop some cheek pieces on him as he just got a little bit lonely when he hit the front in the National Spirit.

“I read that Epatante is going there but she had a hard race at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle. On his day and when he is on song I’m not afraid of anything.

“Two and a half miles around a flat track is perfect for him. We will look forward to going there and taking our chance in the race again. He is in good nick.”

Thomas Darby is another notable contender who will look to show his true colours at the Grand National Festival and he will be aimed at the Liverpool Hurdle (Grade One), the handler stating that he was to blame for the defeat in the William Hill Rendelsham Hurdle (Grade Two) at Haydock  in his last outing.

He continued: “Thomas Darby will go for the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle which he was third in last year. It was a complete trainer error running him at Haydock. The trainer should have been sacked for running him on heavy ground at Haydock Park!

“Luckily I’ve got very understanding owners in Graeme and Diana Whateley, who were fine about it. I should not have run him and you can put a line through that.

“The rest of his form this season has been brilliant and he has been solid all the way through.

“Until he won at Newbury I thought ‘you have really got to start performing’, but he was good there and jumping the second last in the Long Walk at Ascot I thought he was going to come and win his race, but there were no excuses on the day.

“On his day he is good and he has a good each-way chance at Aintree.”

Itchy Feet will bid to double his tally in Grade Ones when he contests the Betway Bowl Chase, this runner failing to meet the qualifying criteria for the Grand National earlier this week.

Murphy added: “Itchy Feet is likely to go there for the three mile Grade One. He didn’t qualify for the Grand National this season as he hasn’t finished in the first four over three miles over fences.

“He has put in a lot of good performances this season but it was another trainer error running him at Kelso on his last start.

“He didn’t face his blinkers and the sharp track didn’t suit him. We will freshen him up and it is positive that some of his best form is at Aintree.”