Racing: Shaken Murphy clings on

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The Independent Online
A DAZED Declan Murphy won the Mackeson Gold Cup on Bradbury Star under extraordinary circumstances here yesterday. The effects of a crashing fall in the previous race caught up with the 26-year-old jockey as he rode Bradbury Star into the winners' enclosure and he all but collapsed after getting off the eight-year-old.

Murphy, looking grey and shaky, was helped into the weighing room and gave up his remaining two rides.

Piloting a steeplechaser round two and a half miles and 15 fences on one of the trickiest courses in the country is an activity fraught with hazard at the best of times. Murphy said afterwards: 'I was always just about in control of the situation but it became increasingly uncomfortable. I was seeing two Jamie Osbornes all the way round the second circuit.'

Murphy had passed the medical - part of which is answering a series of questions lucidly - after Arcot had buried him in the hurdle race before the Mackeson, and was passed fit to ride Bradbury Star.

In the circumstances he rode a tremendous race, and was later able to accept the award for the riding performance of the meeting.

But trainer Josh Gifford had sensed all was not well with Murphy. He said: 'He seemed to be giving him a bit of a funny ride down the back, sending him on then pulling him back. He didn't seem confident, which is most unlike Declan.'

Bradbury Star, ousted as favourite on the day by General Pershing, was one of five in contention coming down the hill. The rest were strung out by the strong pace set by Jamie Osborne on Egypt Mill Prince, and the leading group was reduced to four when Second Schedual fell three out.

General Pershing and Storm Alert were dropped before the turn for home, leaving Bradbury Star as the only challenger. Egypt Mill Prince kept going gallantly up the hill but he was very tired and Bradbury Star picked his rival off after the last fence, giving him 19lb and a seven-length beating.

General Pershing plodded home third, followed by Storm Alert, with River Bounty and Space Fair picking up fifth and sixth prize money. The top-weight, Morley Street, and the much-fancied Irish challenger, General Idea, completed the course, but were never sighted in the race.