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‘This is the best day I’ve had’ - Leader too strong in Liverpool Hurdle for Olly Murphy team

3 minute read

Strong Leader came home best of all to land the Grade 1 JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree on Saturday.

STRONG LEADER winning the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in Liverpool, England.
STRONG LEADER winning the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in Liverpool, England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Olly Murphy's charge was tackling three miles for the first time when third behind Grand National contender Noble Yeats and fan-favourite Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

A further half furlong would await the lightly-raced seven-year-old but he quickly proved the three-mile-and-a-half furlong trip was well within his compass when staying on strongly to gain honours in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle.

The Olly Murphy-trained contender loomed up large approaching the second last and although he made a slight mess of the final flight, Sean Bowen had enough in the tank to steer home the 8/1 chance for a four-and-a-quarter-length success.

"He's a good horse and he got a great ride from Sean. He jumped and travelled way better .... It's not often you'll struggle to get words out me but I really, really enjoyed that," said Murphy on ITV Racing.

"We were an unlucky loser yesterday (with Go Dante), but luck was on our side today and the best horse won. It's absolutely magic. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I loved that."

"We missed Cheltenham - he probably should have won the Cleeve Hurdle, and got underneath hurdles for a mile and a half that day, and to go back and run in the Stayers… I'm adamant he doesn't like Cheltenham; he doesn't like going up and down the hills enough. We were ballsy enough to leave Cheltenham alone - I wanted to go there as much as anyone; I've never had a festival winner - and save him for today. It's a flat track, he's won round here, and he just got into a rhythm today. the last two furlongs this time. He's a very good horse on his day and I'm over the moon.

"Big winners are where you want to be. It's tough, it's hard, you've got to work hard, you've got to get up in the morning, no different to anyone else who trains horses, but if you don't enjoy days like this, go and do another profession.

"This is the best day I've had. I've had some good days in my short career so far, but this lad's a homebred, his owners live 10 minutes down the road from me, they rub his back themselves, they come up and get involved, they have him at home in the summer and it's a fantastic story. He's the most gorgeous horse you'll set your eyes on and a good racehorse as well at the same time. That meant an awful lot to me, and I'm chuffed."

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