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Houdini a great act for Grand National winner Timmy Murphy

By Martin Kelly

Published 12/05/2015

Flat out: Timmy Murphy led Houdini to victory by a head
Flat out: Timmy Murphy led Houdini to victory by a head

Grand National-winning rider Timmy Murphy claimed his first winner as a fully-fledged Flat jockey aboard Houdini in the Roger & Mary Marsh Handicap at Wolverhampton.

Murphy had been on the sidelines since the beginning of 2014 due to a shoulder injury before having his first rides on the level at Thirsk on Saturday evening.

Just three rides into the next chapter of his illustrious career, Murphy was seen to great effect on the three-year-old, who is trained by his former weighing room colleague Jamie Osborne.

Murphy had been due to return at Brighton last Wednesday but the meeting was called off after only two races due to high winds.

He is hoping to emulate the likes of Jim Crowley, Graham Lee and PJ McDonald who have all made a success of switching to the level having made their names riding over jumps.

Houdini was sent off at 7-1 and held off the late thrust of Arlecchino's Leap by a head.

Osborne said: "It's great that he's got it under his belt so quickly.

"He's been riding out three or four times a week for me for the best part of two months now.

"Timmy is and always has been a great horseman and if you saw that race, he didn't look like a man having his third ride on the Flat. In my eyes if you can ride, you can ride.

"I can't believe he is where he is with his weight but he did 9st comfortably there and didn't look bad on it, he seems strong and healthy.

"He's just a phenomenally good jockey, he's a good bloke and I'll be using him whenever I can. If I can help him make a good go of it, then that's what I will do."

Regal Parade, meanwhile, can roll back the years by winning the totepool Handicap at Chelmsford.

Now an 11-year-old, Regal Parade has enjoyed plenty of days in the sun, not least when winning the 2009 Sprint Cup at Haydock and landing the Prix Maurice de Gheest in France the following year after graduating from claiming the likes of the Ayr Gold Cup during his handicap career.

His ability has obviously diminished with the passing of years but his enthusiasm endures and he has shown up well a couple of times already this year for new handler Charlie Wallis.

Rated 119 in his pomp, Regal Parade now lines up off a very workable mark of 85 - the same perch as when he won a competitive Newmarket event last August.

Third on his return from over 200 days off the track, Regal Parade felt the benefit of that Chelmsford run when returning to the Essex course to claim second in a very similar event to this.

He clearly remains competitive at this level and would be a popular winner.

Belfast Telegraph

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