Horses To Follow » Agent Murphy

Agent Murphy

Agent Murphy did really well to finish as close as he did in the big 12-furlong handicap at Ascot on Saturday. Brian Meehan’s horse sweated up beforehand, and he was really free and keen through the early stages of the race. He had been keen in previous races, but he got buffetted around through the first two furlongs here, and Jimmy Fortune did really well to get him even semi-settled as early as he did before they rounded their first turn.

The primary worry concerning Agent Murphy before the race centred on his ability to stay this 12-furlong trip, given that he started his career off over a mile and that he hadn’t been beyond 10 furlongs in two runs since, so his keenness was not helpful in that regard. That said, he travelled well into the home straight, engineered a run for himself early in the home straight towards the outside, and ran on strongly all the way to the line. He could not catch Battersea or Gwafa, but they are two fellow progressive three-year-olds, and he did really well to catch the talented Astronereus to get up for third place.

This was just the fourth run of Agent Murphy’s life. Unraced as a juvenile, he won his first two races this term over eight and nine furlong respectively, both by a head, and he did well to get as close to the talented Redkirk over 10 furlongs at Ascot in July on his final run before Saturday, when he probably wasn’t suited to making his own running.

The handicapper raised him 3lb for Saturday’s run, which is not at all harsh, his new mark of 98 probably still under-estimates his ability. He should learn to settle better and better as he gains in experience, and there is every chance that he will improve significantly when he does. Also, we know now that he stays a mile and a half well, we know that he can go well at Ascot, and we know that he can handle easy ground, given that he won his maiden on good to soft. He is an interesting horse for the remainder of the season and beyond.

6th September 2014