Russell gets off the mark for Murphy

LEADING Irish amateur Davy Russell put the seal on his appointment as first jockey to the powerful Ferdy Murphy stable when gaining his first success for the West Witton trainer on Inn Antique at Sedgefield yesterday.

Russell brought the bay gelding with a steady run on the bridle to lead at the second last flight in the Sedgefield Novices’ Hurdle, and he drew away to score by seven lengths from Beat The Heat.

A delighted Murphy said: ‘‘The main idea was to get the horse settled and we did not really think we would beat Beat The Heat, but Davy did a good job and the horse really pinged the last two - we will stay hurdling for the time being.

‘‘It is nice to get the first winner for Davy out of the way, we have a lot of nice horses for him to ride this week as well - he is a very cool lad and a very good rider and we are pleased to have him on our side.’’

Russell said: ‘‘I had my first rides for Ferdy since I got the job last Thursday and have had a few finishing placed, but they have all been running well and it is good to have my first winner for the stable.’’

Russell, 23, went on: ‘‘I have ridden 150 point-to-point winners and 70 under Rules back home and Ferdy gave me my first ride at the Cheltenham Festival on Tony’s Tip four years ago.

‘‘Tom O’Mahoney, a bloodstock agent, rang me and told me there was a job going at Ferdy’s and asked was if I was interested - it is a great opportunity and he has some lovely horses in the yard.’’

Nicky Richards’ patience is paying off, and Lord Jack, one of five horses he trains for Trevor Hemmings, continued his good strike rate with his young jumpers when he gained a convincing success under Brian Harding in the Alderclad Roofing Novices’ Chase.

Richards, who runs stable star Telemoss at Ayr on Sunday, explained: ‘‘My father (Gordon) always told me to be patient, bring the horses along steadily and build up the team gradually - when he died most of the handicappers were getting on and due to retire.

‘‘So we have been getting some novice chasers together - Lord Jack is the fourth of the 10 we have got to have won this season - and hopefully they are going to be nice for handicaps next season and we can really get going.’’

Mr Mahdlo is something of an enigma, but conditional Padge Whelan persuaded him to put his best foot forward and that was good enough to bring him success again in the St Modwen Handicap Chase.

Trainer Bob Woodhouse explained: ‘‘He kept pulling up, and we just did not know why - it was becoming embarrassing so I thought we should send him to Jonjo O’Neill because he has all the best facilities and the best vets.

‘‘They even sent him to Bristol University, but they could not find anything wrong and he even pulled up on Jonjo’s gallops.’’

He went on: ‘‘So after a couple of months Jonjo said we might as well have him back and this is his first run since - I just don’t know what to make of it, but Jonjo has just rung me to congratulate me and he said we ought to run him in the cross-country race at Cheltenham on Friday.’’

Whelan completed a double on Del Trotter in the Northern Racing Handicap Chase after which trainer Howard Johnson said: ‘‘This horse tends to drag his back legs through the fences so we will keep him to the local tracks.’’

Adam Pogson was suspended for two days (November 12 and 21) for using his whip with excessive frequency on runner-up Lislaughtin Abbey.

The suspended Tony Dobbin missed another winner when Calvin McCormack brought Len Lungo’s Full Irish home in front in the Tote betXpress Handicap Hurdle.

Lungo had also intended to run Freetown, but said: ‘‘He pulled out of his box a bit stiff so we could not run him. It is a pity but at least we have won the race and Calvin gave the horse a lovely ride - he comes with Tony (Dobbin) to school for us.’’

With Dobbin out of action until Thursday week, Lungo added: ‘‘Brian Harding will ride Direct Access at Kelso tomorrow.

“He came and schooled him this morning and the horse jumped well for him. And if The Bajan Bandit runs at Ayr on Saturday he will ride him too.’’

Evelyn Slack retained Joanem, ridden by amateur Gareth Thomas, without a bid after the gelding won the John Wade Skip Hire Selling Handicap Hurdle while Richard Phillips made it three winners from six runners ion the course when Listen Up won the Levy Board Mares’ Only Handicap Hurdle under Jodie Mogford.

Phillips’s assistant Gordon Clarkson said: ‘‘Listen Up had so many niggling problems last season and it is nice to see her back.

“We have the option of going novice chasing with her.’’

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