FERDY Murphy hopes history will repeat itself when Divers, his Cheltenham Festival hero, reappears on Sunday at Carlisle.
The West Witton trainer sent out L’Antartique to win both the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at the Cumbria track in 2007 before landing the Paddy Power Gold Cup – one of the most prestigious steeplechasing handicaps of the season.
He is not alone in pulling off this noteworthy double. Twelve months ago Little Josh won at Carlisle for teenager Sam Twiston-Davies before powering to victory in the Paddy Power at Cheltenham. Divers has not raced since landing the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in March.
However, Murphy hopes the battling grey will perform admirably for his new owners Let’s Live Racing banner – the horse is one of many that have transferred to the syndicate from David Parry Racing.
“It’s the same route we took with L’Antartique in 2007 and it would be lovely if lightning could strike twice,” said the trainer.
“He has schooled very well and Graham Lee is very pleased with him at the moment. Unfortunately Graham is banned on Sunday, so Keith Mercer will ride him. He is a very able deputy who is riding grand now he’s back from injury.
“We are very pleased with Divers and he will come on for his seasonal return. They forecast some very wet weather at Carlisle during the week, which won’t help him, but I need to get a run into him to blow the cobwebs away.”
Noble Mission, half-brother to Sir Henry Cecil’s talismanic Frankel, performed with credit when second to Godolphin newcomer Swedish Sailor on his racecourse debut at Yarmouth yesterday.
The defeat did not perturb Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Noble Mission’s owner Khalid Abdullah. He said: “It’s soft ground and he probably just tired at the end. Henry thinks he is more of a staying type than his brother and that will tell. It’s a good beginning.”