The Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle
Grade 3, Ascot 15:35
£150,000 added,
4yo plus,
1m 7f 152y, Class 1  
Saturday 23rd December 2017

1 Hunters Call 9/1
2 Silver Streak 8/1
3 Verdana Blue 5/1F
4 Bleu Et Rouge 7/1
17 ran Distances: 3l, 1½l, 1½l
Time: 3m 49.40s (slow by 8.40s)

Hunters Call wins for Olly Murphy and Jack Kennedy

Hunters Call
© Racehorse Photos
Hunters Call

First-season trainer Olly Murphy gained his biggest success so far with Hunters Call.

Jockey Jack Kennedy is based with Gordon Elliott, for whom Murphy used to be assistant.

Unusually for such a hugely-competitive handicap, there was no great pace on in front and Kennedy knew not to be too far back, always in the perfect position.

Coming out of the straight he could be spotted going smoothly, but the favourite Verdana Blue and Willie Mullins' Bleu Et Rouge were making stealthy progress from the rear.

Hunters Call nicked a few lengths, though, and the 9-1 chance stayed on strongly to beat Silver Streak by three lengths, with Verdana Blue and Bleu Et Rouge third and fourth respectively.

Kennedy said: "It was well worth the trip. It's a great training performance by Olly. 

"My brother Paddy rode him on his last run in Sligo. He hadn't run for a while, so fair play to Olly, but when the entries came out Paddy was on to me to ring Olly for the ride. 

"I thought Olly would already have someone for him, so I didn't bother, but when Olly rang me the other morning I was more than happy to come over and ride him. 

"Olly was always very good. I suppose he's learnt a lot off Gordon and it seems to be showing. 

"I get on great with Olly, so it's nice to get a big one like that for him." 

Murphy said: "It's magic. I've been training four months and to have a winner like that is a dream come true. 

"I'm the name on the front of the door, but I have a big team behind me and and they're fantastic. 

"I was thinking Jack had hit the front too early. I've grown up with Jack in Gordon's and he hadn't had a ride when I was working there. 

"For him to ride me a winner like this is magic and hopefully it's the start of things to come." 

He added: "This was D-day today, I'll enjoy it and worry about the rest of the season tomorrow. I'd imagine we'll look after his mark for one of the Cheltenham handicaps, either the County Hurdle or maybe even the boys' race (Martin Pipe) as he stays very well."

The Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle
£150,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 152y, Class 1
17 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Hunters Call (IRE) 9/1 J W Kennedy
10-3
Olly Murphy 7
2nd 3 Silver Streak (IRE) 8/1 Mitchell Bastyan (5)
10-5
Evan Williams 4
3rd Verdana Blue (IRE) 5/1f Nico de Boinville
11-5
N J Henderson 5
4th Bleu Et Rouge (FR) 7/1 B J Geraghty
11-7
W P Mullins 6
5th 1 Man Of Plenty 40/1 Sean Houlihan (7)
10-0
Mrs S Leech 8
6th Elgin 13/2 Wayne Hutchinson
11-12
A King 5
7th ½ Magic Dancer 9/1 Richard Patrick (5)
10-0
Kerry Lee 5
8th 1 Top Othe Ra (IRE) 33/1 D J Mullins
10-12
T Mullins 9
9th nse Veinard (FR) 14/1 D F O'Regan
10-4
G Elliott 8
10th 2 Nietzsche 28/1 Henry Brooke
10-10
B Ellison 4
11th ¾ Charli Parcs (FR) 7/1 Aidan Coleman
11-7
N J Henderson 4
12th ½ Caid Du Lin (FR) 25/1 Charlie Hammond (7)
10-12
Dr R D P Newland 5
13th 6 Chesterfield (IRE) 16/1 Daniel Sansom (7)
11-7
J W Mullins 7
14th 10 Divin Bere (FR) 16/1 Bryony Frost (5)
11-9
P F Nicholls 4
15th 13 Air Horse One 10/1 N D Fehily
11-8
H Fry 6
16th nk Fergall (IRE) 25/1 Kevin Jones (5)
11-1
J W Mullins 10
F Evening Hush (IRE) 50/1 Conor Ring (3)
10-3
Evan Williams 4

RACING WELFARE HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR (1987-2015)

Run at Sandown in 2005 (January 7, 2006) and in 2004 (January 8, 2005); run at Leopardstown in January up to & including 2000.

Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP

2016 BRAIN POWER

2015 STERNRUBIN

2014 BAYAN

2013 WILLOWS SAVIOUR

2012 CAUSE OF CAUSES 4-10-03 JP McManus, Gordon Elliot,t DJ Condon 25/1

2011 RAYA STAR 5-10-01 Simon Munir A King W Hutchinson 12/1

2010 Abandoned due to frost

2009 Abandoned due to snow

2008 SENTRY DUTY 6-11-09 Peter Spiller Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 12/1

2007 JACK THE GIANT 5-11-00 Hanbury Syndicate Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald 9/4F

2006 ACAMBO 5-11-09 David Johnson David Pipe Timmy Murphy 7/1

2005 DESERT AIR 7-10-09 Belinda Harvey Martin Pipe Tom Scudamore 25/1

2004 TAMARINBLEU 5-10-11 Arthur White Partnership Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 14/1

2003 THESIS 5-11-02 1961 Partnership Venetia Williams Brian Crowley 33/1

2002 CHAUVINIST 7-10-00 Bunny & Nick Roberts Nicky Henderson Norman Williamson 15/2

2001 MARBLE ARCH 5-10-11 Martin & Mary Wilson Rory SweetHughie Morrison Norman Williamson 7/1

2000 MANTLES PRINCE 6-9-12 R J McSharry Pat Hughes IRE Fran Berry 12/1

1999 ARCHIVE FOOTAGE 7-11-08 Michael Smurfit Dermot Weld IRE David Evans 25/1

1998 GRAPHIC EQUALISER 6-10-00 BRASK Syndicate Arthur Moore IRE Conor O’Dwyer 5/1F

1997 MASTER TRIBE 7-10-04 Jebel Ali Racing Stables Jenny Pitman Norman Williamson 18/1

1996 DANCE BEAT 5-9-12 Mrs E Queally Jessica Harrington IRE Anthony Powell 12/1

1995 ANUSHA 5-10-02 G A Hoggard Michael Hourigan IRE Shane Broderick 25/1

1994 ATONE 7-10-08 Robert Sinclair Bunny Cox IRE Kevin O’Brien 10/1

1993 GLENCLOUD 5-10-13 D Tierney Noel Meade IRE Gerry O’Neill 20/1

1992 HOW’S THE BOSS 6-10-02 Edward Farrell John Brassill IRE Jason Titley 20/1

1991 THE ILLIAD 10-10-13 Elizabeth Furlong Andy Geraghty IRE Pat McWilliams 7/1

1990 REDUNDANT PAL 7-11-05 P S O’Neill Paddy Mullins IRE Conor O’Dwyer 20/1

1989 REDUNDANT PAL 6-10-00 P S O’Neill Paddy Mullins IRE P Kavanagh 16/1

1988 ROARK 6-11-01 P Leeper Arthur Moore IRE Tom Taaffe 5/1

1987 BARNBROOK AGAIN 6-11-08 Mel Davies David Elsworth Colin Brown 5/2F