Our Father answers Murphy's prayers
Racing:Timmy Murphy made a welcome return to the big stage as the smart novice chasing prospect Our Father capped a Cheltenham double for the veteran rider.
Our Father, who spends his summers at Murphy’s farm, has always been held in high esteem by the David Pipe team and thrashed 2-1 favourite Sire Collonges by 20 lengths in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Chase.
The unfurnished grey had tailed off at the end of last season but was a different proposition after a break once put over fences, tracking Sire Collonges until Murphy let him go over the last couple of fences.
Owned by David Johnson and the Ives family, Our Father was heavily backed into 11-4 and promptly introduced into the RSA Chase market at around 8-1.
“It’s going to be a big season for him,” said Pipe. “He’s still a big baby and Timmy said he handled the ground, which is quite testing, although he went wide looking for the better stuff. He was very disappointing last time at Aintree and wasn’t ready for the Pertemps at the Festival, but he runs well fresh and let’s hope he maintains his form.”
Murphy later took the concluding Centaur Novices’ Handicap Hurdlewith one of his trademark hold-up rides on the David O’Meara-trained Ifandbutwhynot (15-2).
“A very good day at the office — I’m happy with one winner here,” said Murphy. “They told me the most important thing was to get him settled and the ground was a question mark, but I was impressed with him.”
Pipe was on the board with another one when Tom Scudamore galvanised the progressive Goulanes (7-1) home in a tight finish to the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Hurdle.
Pipe said: “He’s only a baby, but he won a point-to-point in soft ground and stuck it out really well up the hill. He’s a dour stayer and he will be a lovely three-mile chaser in time.”
But it wasn’t a good day for Scudamore, even aside from the disappointing run of Grands Crus in the feature Paddy Power Gold Cup.
He was given a four-day whip ban for his ride on Goulanes (December 2-5), to go with two more for careless (December 6th and 7th) following his performance on Tanerko Emery in the finale.
Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh, whose Al Ferof lifted the Paddy Power, unleashed a decent youngster in Far West (15-8), who pulled seven lengths clear in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Nicholls said: “He won nicely at Chepstow and the form was good. He’s improved a lot since then, we knew the second was a good horse, but they’re both pretty good. He’s a grand horse who jumps well — with these juveniles if they don’t jump they don’t win.
“We will play it by ear — today was the target. We have some nice juveniles and we will see what develops.”
Michael Scudamore admitted to being “in dreamland” after willing stayer Monbeg Dude gave him his first Cheltenham winner and his most valuable success to date in the Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase.
Son of champion jockey Peter and brother of Tom, Scudamore was running the 25-1 shot from 1lb out of the handicap but he appeared to be giving Jamie Moore a fabulous spin round the track.
Suddenly he was in with a winning chance and got the better of 9-2 favourite Bradley by a neck in an exciting finish.
“I know it’s not like the Festival, but having a winner here means a lot,” said Scudamore. “I wanted to run him at Wetherby but the owners wanted to come here for a day out, and full credit to them. He stays and loves soft ground. Long-term he could be a Welsh National horse, but whether he’s ready for that just yet, I’m not sure.”