Thomas Darby To Head Back Over Hurdles In New Year

Olly Murphy is strongly thinking about sending his stable star Thomas Darby back over hurdles in the new year after his two poor performances over fences this season.

His trainer has identified the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock as his next potential outing and it could be a very wise move for the gelding with his two chase runs being less than impressive and if taking to hurdles again could enter the frame for the Champion Hurdle.

Thomas Darby has suffered two really short priced defeats over the bigger obstacles and when last seen over hurdles saw him finish a smart second in the Grade One Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

The plans are still not firmly in place but the Murphy camp are edging towards that way of thinking for the six year old and if he tackles the Grade Two hurdle event like he ran last season then he could get back to his best.

(Credit At The Races) Murphy said: “We’ve had his wind checked and bones scanned and nothing has come to light. Plans are a bit up in the air at the moment, he is back cantering away but he will not been seen until mid to late January.

“If I was forced to make a decision now he would probably go back jumping hurdles and have a look at something like the Champion Hurdle trial or possibly step him up to two and a half miles over hurdles.

“He has never really looked confident jumping a fence and the last day at Kempton he was beaten a long way out – we are deep into the season and I don’t want to be winning a beginners’ chase in January.”

In other news at his yard, third in the Supreme Novices Hurdle Itchy Feet will be doing the opposite to his stablemate and will be moving to fences after not looking like the same horse over hurdles this season.

Murphy said: “Itchy Feet will either go to Doncaster or Haydock for a beginners’ chase. His schooling has been very good and he seems in good form. I’m looking forward to getting him going over fences.

“He did have a couple of engagements after his run at Kempton and they came a bit quick, so we decided to wait and go over fences with him.”