Olly Murphy has added Itchy Feet to his roster of novice chasers by announcing this year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle third will make his debut over fences in the next few weeks.
The five-year-old made his seasonal reappearance over the smaller obstacles at Kempton last month, when he was fourth to Silver Streak, but connections feel the time is right to make the switch.
“Just looking back at all his form last year, all he did over two miles was stay galloping. He probably did his best work from the back of the last to the line,” Olly Murphy told Sky Sports Racing.
“I had a chat with Andrew Brooks (owner) on the way back from Cheltenham on Sunday and we decided to go jumping fences with him, so that is the plan of action.”
Stablemate Thomas Darby was ahead of Itchy Feet when second in the Supreme and he filled the same position on his chasing bow at Warwick when beaten a length by Maire Banrigh.
Murphy warned against writing Thomas Darby off.
“He is a horse who needs a truly-run race and is seen at his best coming off a strong gallop,” said the Warwickshire handler.
“I wanted him to have a good experience first time over fences. I think a lot of people have written this horse off and it’s foolish to have done so.
“He might go Carlisle a week on Sunday, but it wouldn’t want to be bottomless there and there’s a two-mile two beginners’ chase at Kempton in the next 10 days.”
Murphy confirmed the Grade One randoxhealth.com Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown is the target of Brewin’upastorm, who has won both his starts over fences at Carlisle and Taunton.
“His jumping was good from day one. He’s very economical. He’s not exuberant, he’s just neat and quick and gets from A to B quicker than most horses would,” he said.
“He couldn’t have made a better start over fences and in hindsight I’m just glad I didn’t go to Cheltenham (November meeting) with him. I think a lot of horses got very hard races there.
“He had a nice time of things in Taunton and he’s a horse that puts a smile on my face.
“He’s going for the Henry VIII at Sandown. A strong two miles suits him well.”
Murphy has his fingers crossed Hunters Call can stand up to the rigours of training and make a comeback.
The nine-year-old has been sidelined since winning a valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot in December 2017.
“He’s in light canters at the moment. He’s very fragile,” he said.
“Looking back on it, he didn’t just win, he absolutely bolted up. He had the likes of Silver Streak behind him that day.
“It’s a big ‘if’, if we can get him back, but if we can it will be a big achievement by everyone because he’s a very fragile type. though he’s got a lot of ability.”