Olly Murphy is considering options at Haydock and Cheltenham for Itchy Feet following his promising return to action in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
The six-year-old was a leading contender for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, having won his first two starts over fences, but stumbled badly and unseated Gavin Sheehan after the sixth fence.
He was well fancied to make a winning reappearance on Merseyside last month, and while he came up a little short – finishing third behind surprise winner Nuts Well – Murphy is confident there is a lot to look forward to.
“He’s come out of Aintree absolutely fine. There’s a graduation chase on Betfair Chase day at Haydock (November 21), or we might look at the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham (December 12), so we’ve got a couple of options,” he said.
“He’s in good nick and ran a good race the other day. He just lacked a little bit of experience and had a good blow from the back of the last – like all of mine, he’ll come on for the run.”
The Warren Chase handler is similarly optimistic about the future for Champagnesuperover, despite his odds-on defeat at Stratford last week.
The high-class bumper performer was long odds-on for his hurdling debut, but was beaten into second place by When You’re Ready.
“Two miles on good to soft ground at Stratford wasn’t ideal for him and he had a blow,” said Murphy.
“He wants to go to a big track over two and a half miles and have real soft ground.
“There’s no big trophies won at Stratford in October – it’s a long season.”