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Murphy Group Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) 2m 5f

  • (5yo+, 2m 5f, Class 1, 16 runners)
  • Winner £28,475 2nd £10,685 3rd £5,350 4th £2,665 5th £1,340 6th £670
  • Going: Heavy, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 48.70s
  • Off time: 13:15:05
  • Last Updated: January 26 2013, 15:19 GMT

Katenko (4/1f) continued his rise up the chasing ranks with a smooth victory in the Murphy Group Chase at Cheltenham.

Katenko: Smooth victory
Katenko: Smooth victory

The seven year old may have been given more to think about if Our Mick hadn't departed at the third last in a race won last year by subsequent Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster.

The pair had locked horns from the top of the hill but the front-running grey jumped markedly to his left at that obstacle, colliding with Katenko and causing Jason Maguire to unseat.

That left Aidan Coleman around 10 lengths clear of the chasing pack and, although one or two still appeared to be travelling quite well in behind, the pair never looked like being caught with the winner's stamina not in doubt as he was dropping back from three miles to two miles five.

Fruity O'Rooney, who, like the winner, was always to the fore, was 12 lengths adrift in second over a trip that was short of his optimum; Nadiya De La Vega was back in third with Tullamore Dew fourth.

A jubilant Venetia Williams says "It's really exciting, we were coming back in trip from Sandown but felt you needed to stay every yard of three miles to be effective up the hill in that ground. All things are open for us now and the Gold Cup is a really attractive option. The ground will be a big factor though."

Owner Andy Brooks added: "To win by 12 lengths against those sort of horses is an incredible performance. I'd love to run in the Gold Cup, but it is up to the trainer."

The winner was cut to 33/1 from 66s by Sky Bet to make a winning return to Prestbury Park in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

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