Twin Cheltenham raid for Murphy

  • Last Updated: December 5 2012, 12:42 GMT

Ferdy Murphy is set to be double handed in the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham on December 15.

Divers: One of two potential Murphy runners

The trainer is targeting Divers and De Boitron at the £100,000 contest and both have plenty of course experience.

Divers missed the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 17 due to soft ground but the eight-year-old boasts an excellent record at the home of Jump racing, having finished fourth in the Byrne Group Plate at The Festival in March and third in the 2011 Paddy Power Gold Cup.

He also beat last season's Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup victor Quantitativeeasing (11st 3lb) in the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase at the 2011 Festival.

De Boitron has run well at The Festival in the two most recent renewals of the extended two-mile Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, coming home sixth in 2012 and fourth in 2011.

Murphy said: "I hope that both Divers and De Boitron will head to Cheltenham. De Boitron will handle softer conditions, whereas Divers really needs good ground. As long as the ground is not as soft as it was on the Saturday of The Open, Divers will definitely run.

"Divers is very, very well. We worked him on Tuesday morning and I couldn't have him in better shape so we are desperate to get him to a racecourse.

"He has won on soft ground but he is very good on a faster surface and, when you get into the top races, you want everything in your favour. His record at Cheltenham is very good and I hope that he can take his chance.

"De Boitron has been third over the course and distance and he ran well twice in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual, which is a too short for him.

"He ran a blinder on his seasonal return at Kelso and he has improved for the outing. He is in good order and two miles, five furlongs around Cheltenham will be ideal for him."

Divers has been given 10st 2lb for the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup and De Boitron 10st 1lb.

The weights are headed by the Philip Hobbs-trained Wishfull Thinking (11st 12lb), who was an impressive winner of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham .

Hobbs is also responsible for Menorah (11st 10lb), who captured the Grade Two International Hurdle at The International in 2010 and was third in the Grade One Racing Post Arkle Chase at this year's Festival.

Walkon (10st 12lb) and Nadiya De La Vega (10st 9lb), second and third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, could re-oppose each other, while Paul Nicholls, who saddled Al Ferof to victory in the November highlight, may be represented by Tataniano (11st 10lb), course specialist Poquelin (11st 10lb), Cristal Bonus (11st 7lb), Ghizao (11st 5lb) and Unioniste (9st 8lb).

Other contenders among the 35 entries going forward include Hunt Ball (11st 7lb), who scored in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase at The Festival in March but was pulled up on his seasonal return in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Ascot Grade Three winner Roberto Goldback (11st 11lb) and Astracad (10st 8lb), who won at The International in 2011.

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