I was lucky enough to interview multiple champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls on Friday afternoon for One Jump Ahead. The Ditcheat based handler enjoyed a magnificent campaign in 2018/2019 and, following heavy recruitment during the spring/summer on top of an already formidable team of horses, Paul has an awful lot to look forward to. His new purchases are largely from France and the Irish pointing field.
Earlier in the day, I spoke to rising star Olly Murphy who has rapidly developed into one of the leaders of his profession. Gordon Elliott's former assistant sent out 47 and 82 winners during his first two seasons and he has already produced 22 winners during the current campaign. He looks particularly strong in the novice chase department for this winter and he, too, has attracted a number of new recruits with his owners investing heavily on fresh talent. These are exciting times for Olly Murphy.
One division I am particularly looking forward to this season is the bumper one. Having interviewed the likes of Kim Bailey, Harry Fry, Philip Hobbs, Tom Lacey, Olly Murphy, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Richards already, there are seemingly some very exciting and well bred unraced bumper horses housed at those particular stables.
I must admit I haven't caught up on all the action from day four of Glorious Goodwood. However, I did manage to watch the opening Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes over seven furlongs. Unfortunately, Top 40 entry Jubiloso could only finish third. Typically, Sir Michael Stoute's filly met trouble in running and was forced to challenge on the outside. She stayed on strongly but found the winning post coming too soon. Compensation awaits but once again Goodwood continues to frustrate.
I am hoping Gunmetal might put things right in the Stewards' Cup on Saturday. David Barron's gelding wants a fast six furlongs and he will be ridden by Harry Bentley. The drying ground will be very much in his favour and hopefully he is well drawn.
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