With rain-softened ground at Newbury on Thursday afternoon Olly Murphy is happy to let some of his Novice Hurdlers have an outing, and the Betfair Ambassador will saddle six runners on the card...
"He has schooled well and I'm hoping for a big run under Richard Johnson but, again, it's a competitive race with several unexposed runners representing top stables."
Olly Murphy on Garrettstown
As you know I have been waiting for rain before letting loose my novice hurdlers. Thankfully there has been some of the wet stuff around Newbury so I run six at the Berkshire track on Thursday afternoon.
Garrettstown likely to be the pick of my quartet
13:15 - Bucaneros, Corinto, Newlands Cross, Garrettstown
I'll start with the two store horses, Bucaneros and Corinto. Bucaneros is a fine big son of Stowaway who will obviously be making his racecourse debut in this race. He was a bit backward so we haven't rushed him and he is just about ready to start off under David England. Corinto, who will be ridden by Aidan Coleman, is in exactly the same boat and like Bucaneros is also owned by Diana Whateley. They will both improve for the experience.
My third runner, Newlands Cross, won an English point-to-point and, in time, will definitely want further than the 2m here. He is a nice prospect who may challenge for minor honours in a competitive race.
That leaves my fourth and final entry, Garrettstown. He was very impressive when winning a bumper at Chepstow by 8L back in April. At the moment, he is certainly one of my nicer novices, and while he will definitely step up in trip during his career this is a good starting point for him. He has schooled well and I'm hoping for a big run under Richard Johnson but, again, it's a competitive race with several unexposed runners representing top stables.
Competitive race so we'll be pleased with a place
14:25 - It's O Kay
Again, on paper, this is a very competitive mare's novice hurdle. It's O Kay won a bumper at Sedgefield last backend, the form of which has worked out relatively well with the runner-up, Dollys Destination winning next time out at Hexham and the fourth placed horse, which I also train, Foxtrot Juliet, having won a nice novice hurdle last month in Wincanton.
She has always shown me plenty at home and it's fair to say she has really strengthened up for her break. Richard Johnson rides and I'll be very happy if she finishes in the frame.
A good each-way chance off a fair mark
14:55 - Rio Quinto
After this guy won a Fakenham maiden hurdle by 34L I thought he would make up into a really nice novice hurdler and although he finished runner up in his three subsequent races it's fair to say I was a tad disappointed with him. We have given him a wind operation and I'm applying a tongue-tie for the first time here. The race is a 'Pertemps Qualifer' for the festival finale so always difficult races to win but I thought his mark of 130 was fair without being lenient. A sound each way chance.
Rio Quinto was my assistant trainer, Ed Telfer's, 'Dark Horse' for the season!
Olly Murphy Video Exclusive
You can listen to Olly talk about Thursday's runners in the below video which also includes the handler's weekly recap, and word on his future entries and stable news...
*Best Chance of the week: Garrettstown in the 2m Novice Hurdle at Newbury on Thursday.