Olly Murphy is preparing both Brewin’upastorm and I K Brunel for Cheltenham’s November meeting.
High-class novice hurdler Brewin’upastorm finished with a flourish to make a successful chasing debut at Carlisle last Thursday, just under 24 hours after the highly-regarded I K Brunel had opened his account over hurdles in dominant fashion at Worcester.
Murphy senses Brewin’upastorm can step up in distance in due course, but is keen to keep him at two miles for the time being, with the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial at Cheltenham on November 17 identified as a likely target.
He said: “He was dropped in a long way at Carlisle and wasn’t 100 per cent ready – I was straight with everybody about that. He’d had a wind operation and was three weeks behind everything else, so he showed a lot of guts to win.
“He saw his race out strongly, and his jumping got better. He wasn’t seeing his races out as well as I would have liked last year, and I think on a bit of slow ground I would keep him at two miles for now.
“I’d imagine we might go to Cheltenham in November for the Arkle trial if the ground is slow, and I will enter him in the two-and-a-half-mile novice chase as well.
“There is also a graduation chase at Carlisle, which might come a few days early. He is in very good form and he has come back out of the run very well.”
I K Brunel is set to have his sights raised for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on November 15.
Murphy added: “I’d say he would go to Cheltenham for the two-mile-five Grade Two – he is an out-and-out stayer.
“I’m glad he came to the track and showed me what he does at home, because he is a horse I really like. He will give connections plenty of fun.”
One star of Warren Chase Stables who has not yet graced the racecourse this season is Thomas Darby.
Not seen since filling the runner-up spot behind Klassical Dream in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March, the six-year-old is set for an imminent debut over fences – potentially in the Kalahari King Beginners’ Chase at Uttoxeter on Friday.
Murphy said: “I’ve entered him at Uttoxeter, but he is a horse that wants better ground.
“If it is bottomless he won’t go, and I will have to pick and choose a bit where I run. I’m not going to rip the guts out of him on heavy ground first time out.
“He probably would be more forward than Brewin’upastorm, because I’ve not missed a beat with him. He has been down to Henrietta Knight’s, and I’ve done some intense schooling with him.”
Itchy Feet was one place behind his stablemate when third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but could finish only fourth when a hot favourite on his reappearance at Kempton recently.
Murphy is eyeing possible redemption at Aintree.
He said: “If he didn’t make the bad mistake three out and wasn’t pushed so wide at Kempton, he would have probably run to his mark been beaten only five or six lengths.
“Kempton was too sharp for him as well and I’d say he will go up to two and a half miles.
“I don’t think he will be jumping fences. There is a hurdle race at Aintree over two-and-a-half in three weeks’ time that I’d imagine he will get an entry for.”