Cheltenham Festival News

Colm Murphy back among Festival winners with Impervious

Fri 17 Mar 2023

Full replay: 2023 Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase

Impervious battled to a well-earned success in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, as Colm Murphy returned to the Cheltenham winner’s circle.

The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old found herself locked in a race for the line with Willie Mullins’ Allegorie De Vassy.

Under Brian Hayes it was Impervious who got her head in front, triumphing to maintain her unbeaten record over fences.

It was a fifth Festival success for Murphy, but the first since Empire Of Dirt in 2016 for the man who saddled Brave Inca to land the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2004 and the Champion Hurdle two years later.

Murphy said: “I’m absolutely delighted, she was very tough, it’s fantastic.

Colm Murphy has now trained five Cheltenham Festival winners (with another nine placed) from just 23 runners in the last two decades

“To be stood here again is one of the reasons I came back (after spell away from training), this is why we all do it. I’m just fortunate enough to have another really good one.

“I’ve always really liked her, right through her bumper and hurdle days. You hope and hope that one day they’ll go and do what she’s just done.

“Looking at that I would agree that she’d get further if we wanted her to, I’d say we’ve got loads of options with her.

“I actually don’t know if she’ll run again this season. I’d say we’ll get her home, give her a few entries and take it from there.

“I was wearing a lucky shamrock, it’s clearly done the trick.”

Hayes said: “If there’s a man to get one ready for Cheltenham it’s Colm Murphy. He rides her every day. I have little to do with her, but I saw her do a piece of work last week and Colm couldn’t pull her up. Without saying it I could see that she was flying.

“Colm has done a world of schooling with her, he painted the fences white, he was prepared for everything.

“I think I’ve won five races on her now, she’s a smashing mare, and now I’ve got a Festival win on her.

“This is my first Festival winner, a lot of lads leave here without one but I’ve got one and it’s amazing.”

Willie Mullins, trainer of the runner-up Allegorie De Vassy (13-8 Favourite), said: “I thought she jumped fantastically seeing as she was having only her third run over fences. I thought Paul had it up to the last and he was just outstayed by a very good mare. She’ll probably go up in trip whereas you’d think we might come back in trip. She’ll probably go for the Ryanair Chase at Fairyhouse, where I think she’ll probably take all the beating.”

Venetia Williams, trainer of the third-placed Pink Legend (33-1), said: “I’m delighted and I think it was a much stronger race this year. It wasn’t the plan to make the running but she really seems to come alive here. She loved being out in front. She’d made the running on her last start at Exeter, but this is a whole different ball game. I’m really thrilled, she jumped really well and I felt turning for home that they were queuing up to go past her as the pace hadn’t been that strong. She was tenacious and she kept galloping all the way to the line. It’s not always her day but she’s never run a bad race here.”

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