Carlisle has staged some terrific two miles novice/beginners' chases over the years and the Cumbrian venue was at it again on Thursday. While only a handful of horses went to post there was no shortage of quality which contained runners rated 156, 155, 148, 139 and 133. The race went the way of Brewin'Upastorm who was dropping back in trip having acquitted himself well in Grade 1 novice hurdles at Cheltenham and Aintree last spring. Olly Murphy's charge had also undergone an operation on his wind. Ridden by Richard Johnson, he looked to have plenty to do turning for home but the further the race went, the better he was as he reeled in longtime leader Good Boy Bobby who was rated nine pounds inferior than the winner. A head separated the pair with sixteen lengths back to the third. Murphy had indicated beforehand that Brewin'Upastorm would need the run, which speaks volumes about his ability. Whether he proves quick enough to win an Arkle Trophy next spring remains to be seen but it was a most encouraging start to his chasing career. It won't be long before the runner-up goes one better, while I feel there was a lot to like about the run of former Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Midnight Shadow back in third. Despite the fact he was left behind by the front two from the second last, his stable have yet to hit form (haven't had a winner over jumps for 184 days and 44 runners) and the six year old needs further. Finally, Global Citizen, who finished seventh in the Champion Hurdle in March, dropped away tamely from the third last but he is at his best on a flat track.
Harry Fry's team have been in good form this week with three winners. His latest scorer, Winningseverything (5/2) looked a useful prospect when taking the two and a half miles maiden hurdle at Southwell. The Flemensfirth gelding jumped well and was well on top between the final two flights. Sean Bowen's mount won by five lengths and it is hoped he will progress as the season goes on, something which he didn't do in bumpers last term.
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