An expensive yearling purchase,
of some $350,000, Mr. Murphy was once regarded as a Golden Slipper hopeful as a
2yo, before going amiss and being turned out. Trainer Lee Freedman elected
to send the colt to Queensland, to grow and mature, and gain experience.
He was later gelded, which was perhaps a surprising decision considering his
breeding, but apparently the horse came on in leaps and bounds after his
Mr. Murphy burst onto the Melbourne scene with a brilliant display to effortlessly win the Alister Clarke Stakes, at Moonee Valley by some 3 lengths. He was one of 2 possible mounts for stable jockey Damien Oliver for the Group 1 Cadbury Australian Guineas at Flemington. After drawing perfectly, Oliver elected to ride the gelding in preference over his stable-mate Scenic Warrior. It was a good decision, and after positioning Mr. Murphy perfectly just behind the leaders, Oliver produced him to sprint clear in the straight for a very easy win.
Mr. Murphy was then 'backed up' a week later, dropping back in distance and up to G1 WFA class, when he lined up in the Futurity Stakes. This race has been dominated by 3 year olds in recent years, being won by the outstanding 3yos Mouawad (Octagonal's little brother) in 1997, Encounter in 1998, and then Testa Rossa in 2000, which was actually a 3yo trifecta, as Miss Pennymoney and Redoute's Choice ran second and third. Consistent with the previous results, the 2001 running of the Futurity was dominated by the 3 years. The much improved Desert Sky, who had won the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes at his previous start, and Mr. Murphy battled it out down the straight, and for the first time in the history of the Futurity Stakes, they dead heated for first. These photographs are also available for viewing on Desert Sky's own page on this site.
Lee Freedman put in a late
entry for Mr. Murphy in the Doncaster Handicap, and the has horse arrived in
Sydney, where he is expected to race in the G1 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill
in preparation for the big Randwick mile, for which he has received equal top weight
for a 3 year along with Show a Heart. Mr. Murphy will be carrying 54.5kg
in the Doncaster Handicap, and if his current form holds, he will start as one
of the favourites. He is touted as being 'the next big thing' for the Lee
Freedman stable, who have not had a top class galloper in recent years after
going through a real overhaul with their training methods and horse selection
that appears to be paying off. I've missed Lee figuring in the big races,
so having Mr. Murphy racing so well is good news indeed!
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