Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Bob Murphy

Cappoquin dairy farmer Robert ‘Bob’ Murphy (pictured above) is hoping lightning can strike twice for his stable star Darrens Hope, as the mare bids to capture the prestigious Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park this Thursday.

Murphy made headlines across the racing world when 20/1 shot Darren’s Hope, who he trains, bred and owns – landed the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in November. She fought valiantly on the day, seeing off the Gordon Elliott-trained Minella Crooner by a head under the guidance of Danny Mullins.

The Cappoquin man has since bided his time with the nine-year-old, admitting he is in no rush to blood her again, given what she has already achieved and her value as a broodmare in years to come.

Declarations have been confirmed for the race as of Tuesday morning, with Darrens Hope and Mullins set to face 17 rivals in the Grade A Handicap.

“She’ll go for it. She likes the ground and the three miles will be no bother to her,” said Murphy.

The likes of Hedgehunter and Numbersixvalverde have used the Thyestes as a stepping stone to Aintree Grand National glory in the past, but there are no such aspirations as of now for Darrens Hope, who is yet to run outside of Ireland.

Darrens Hope had been entered for the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase won by Allegorie De Vassy at Limerick‘s Christmas Festival, but her trainer made the decision not to run as there was simply no need to.

“We decided not to run her at Limerick. We’re still delighted with her. There was nothing wrong and no reason why we didn’t, but there’s just no rush with her. She’s a valuable mare for breeding and we’re aware of that. We’re trying to look after her as best we can.”

Darrens Hope will not be the sole source of Waterford interest in the highlight at the Kilkenny track, with Henry de Bromhead’s Gabbys Cross also set to line up at Gowran.

The eight-year-old was last seen when sixth in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, having captured a Grade B Handicap at Naas and a win at the Galway Festival (22/1) in the months beforehand.

The local pair are set to face some stiff competition in this year’s Thyestes, with the markets currently headed by the Noel Meade-trained Diol Ker, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, and Gordon Elliott’s Grand National target, Escaria Ten.

The race is run over a distance of 3m 1f, and will be broadcast live on RTÉ2 at 15:25 on Thursday. It will follow the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at 14:15, where the conqueror of Honeysuckle, Teahupoo, will look to ignite new momentum into his Stayers’ Hurdle bid at Cheltenham.

There are also two Waterford entrants in that contest, those being the de Bromhead-trained Summerville Boy, and Cappagh man Declan Queally will run My Design.

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