Murphy’s hopes on Knockgraffon for Warwick feature

King's Odyssey, ridden by Leighton Aspell, clears the last before going on to win The Timeform Novices' Handicap at Cheltenham in 2016.
King's Odyssey, ridden by Leighton Aspell, clears the last before going on to win The Timeform Novices' Handicap at Cheltenham in 2016.

Wilmcote trainer Olly Murphy saddles top weight Knockgraffon in the feature race at Warwick’s Budbroke Chase Family Fun Day on Friday afternoon, as he looks to add another winner to his impressive first-season tally, writes David Hucker.

With entry to the main enclosure reduced to just £5 for adults and children admitted free, Friday’s meeting is very much aimed at those looking for entertainment during the half-term holiday.

Highlight of the seven-race card is the Class 2 Entire Cheltenham Festival On Racing UK Budbrooke Handicap Chase over two-and-a-half miles and this year’s race has something to live up if it is to match last year’s running when less than half a length separated the first three home.

Knockgraffon looks to have it all to do off top weight but Murphy is hopeful of a good run, saying on his Betfair blog: “he’s in good form and was in the process of running a nice race when falling at Wetherby.”

“Brian Hughes is riding and he won on him up at Musselburgh and I’m hoping he has a good each-way chance.”

Templehills pulled up in the race 12 months ago but has become a bit of a standing dish at Warwick, having run three times over the course in his last five starts. Just over a week ago, he was beaten a long way by Casse Tete and will have to be on his best form to turn the tables this time.

King’s Odyssey ran well behind the useful Frodon at Cheltenham on his latest start but the one that catches the eye is Dan Skelton’s Cobra De Mai who has not run since November and would be returning after a wind operation.

Course ambassador Skelton is having his best season and a treble at Market Rasen yesterday took his score to 138, with the majority of winners having been ridden by his brother Harry.

Gates open at 12.35pm and racegoers will be greeted with live music from The Peas and balloon art from Mr Twister.

The first race, the British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier), is due off at 1.50pm and Nicky Henderson and Ben Pauling both have four entries. With Henderson again leading the trainers’ championship table, his runners are always worth a look.

The consistent Socksy should go well in the Faller Refunds At 188Bet Mares’ Handicap Chase (Qualifier For The Challenger Mares’ Staying Chase Series Final) and Max Dynamo, who has yet to win after seven outings over jumps, can break his duck with Charlie Hammond in the afternoon’s longest race, the 188Bet Download The App Hands And Heels Handicap Hurdle over three-and-a quarter miles.

Talk Of The South, runner-up over the course last month, is fancied to land the long-distance handicap chase and, with not much form to go on in the concluding Flat Race, Midnightreferendum, who ran with promise on her debut at Towcester, is a hopeful selection to step up on this easier track.