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Rookie Murphy set to pack them in at Fakenham meeting

PUBLISHED: 16:40 17 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:40 17 January 2018

Rio Quinto (Richard Johnson) winning at Fakenham's pre-Christmas meeting. Picture: Ian Burt

Rio Quinto (Richard Johnson) winning at Fakenham's pre-Christmas meeting. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Rookie trainer Olly Murphy has entered a host of runners for Fakenham’s six-race card on Monday in a bid to add to his already impressive eight winners from 26 runners in north Norfolk this National Hunt season.

Murphy, who began training at the start of 2017 from his base at Warren Chase in Stratford, has been an immediate success, with 35 winners from 173 runners to date. Before going solo, Murphy spent four years in Ireland as assistant at the very successful stables of Gordon Elliott.

In the opening 1.25pm Taverham Handicap Hurdle, Murphy has five entries at the five-day stage, including grey mare Hurricane Rita, who pulled up at Ffos Las in December after previously running second at Towcester.

Two previous Fakenham winners are entered by Murphy in the 1.55pm three-mile novice hurdle with champion jockey Richard Johnson booked to partner Rio Quinto, a scorer at the pre-Christmas meeting. Murphy has also entered More Than Luck, the seven-year-old gelding a winner at Fakenham on New Year’s Day.

The feature race is the three-mile Wendling Handicap Chase at 2.25pm which sees Popelys Gull and Princeton Royale likely to clash again. They were second and third respectively at Fakenham’s December meeting, both stepping up from 21 furlongs on that occasion.

Kielan Woods is booked to ride Peterborough trainer Pam Sly’s Popelys Gull while Princeton Royale, from Neil King’s yard, looks to be a pound better off at the weights since that December contest.

Murphy has nine entered in the 2.55pm maiden hurdle over two miles with Johnson booked to ride Weebill, a twice raced six-year-old gelding fourth on debut in a Southwell bumper before finishing third on hurdling debut at Market Rasen on Boxing Day. The second chase is the 3.25pm two-mile five-furlong contest in which Johnson and Murphy look set to be represented by Wood Pigeon. An interesting entry is the Micky Hammond-trained Knocknamona. Adrian Cawley is booked to ride the gelding, which has notched up a hat-trick of wins at Uttoxeter, Leicester and most recently at Bangor.

Conditional jockeys get their chance to shine in the 3.55pm finale, the Longham Hurdle in which King looks set to send out Little Windmill under Harry Teal, the horse having scored over course and distance on New Year’s Day.

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