RACING; Murphy staying a step ahead

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The Independent Online
THE 450-MILE round trip by the trainer Pat Murphy from his stable at Portbury, near Bristol, paid a handsome dividend when Step Ahead provided him with his 100th success as a trainer in the claiming race at Beverley yesterday.

His visits to the East Yorkshire course are few and far between, but Murphy makes the most of them as he explained: "That is three winners from three runners for us here in three years and I think you can say we will be coming back."

The ground was very testing and having raced up the favoured stands side Step Ahead led inside the final furlong and stayed on well to draw four lengths clear under Allan MacKay. Murphy added: "We have had 51 on the Flat and 49 jumping in five years, that is not bad when you never have more than 15 or 16 horses in the yard - we have room for more."

Kevin Darley has a great record on the course and rewarded his followers with a 20-1 double on Zoom Up in the Eltherington Handicap, and Rutland Chantry who landed a gamble in the University of Lincolnshire And Humberside Handicap. Imperialist will attempt to extend Richard Hannon's winning sequence in Ireland after scoring at Salisbury. The Wiltshire trainer has landed the last three runnings of the valuable Tattersalls (Ireland) Sales race at the Curragh and he is keeping his fingers crossed that Imperialist can make it four on the bounce.

"She leaves the gate and does everything nicely as she's always been forward since arriving at the yard," said Hannon, who was rattling up his 40th winner of the season. She's in the Tattersalls race in Ireland at the end of August. We've won it for the past three years with Miss Stamper, Amazing Dream and Another Fantasy. "But she's probably had enough for now and we will put her away for a while. However, she could take in the Newbury Super Sprint on the way to Ireland as she gets only 8st in that race as she only cost 6,400 guineas," sais the Wiltshire trainer.