Timmy Murphy: joins Graham Lee and Jim Crowley in switching codes
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
TIMMY MURPHY makes the career switch to the Flat on Wednesday, with a Brighton specialist warning the Grand National-winning jockey will find the idiosyncrasies of the East Sussex track a daunting challenge.
Murphy, who is following the recent examples of Graham Lee and Jim Crowley in switching codes after riding more than 1,000 jump winners, has two mounts at the meeting, which marks his return to the saddle after well over a year on the sidelines with shoulder trouble.
William Carson, a regular visitor with 16 course winners over the past five seasons, believes the experience will test Murphy’s horsemanship as well as nerve.
Carson, who will be in the line-up for the 7f handicap in which Murphy partners the Sean Curran-trained Jay Bee Blue, said: “Brighton is one of the hardest tracks in Britain to ride because there are just so many things to think about.
“It’s very undulating and you have to keep hold of your horse’s head but kick them in the belly, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s pretty much what you have to do running down that hill, and obviously the roads during and after the race are not great.
“The horses can come up at you and some peck on the roads, and it will definitely frighten Timmy. It will certainly be something different for him.”
Murphy’s last ride on the Flat was in 2013, and he has had only 71 mounts over a 23-year career that features an impressive list of big-race triumphs, highlighted by his Grand National victory on Comply Or Die in 2008.
Curran said: “Timmy and I go back a long way to when he first came to England, and I train quite near where he lives, so he’s been in riding out. He told me months ago he was thinking of going down the Flat route and I booked him when he got his licence.
“I think Jay Bee Blue has a good chance. He’s come down in grade, he ran well at Brighton a couple of years ago, and I’d fancy him if the jockey’s fit and his timing’s in with no hurdles in front of him.”
Murphy also rides course-and-distance winner Ada Lovelace in the closing 5f handicap for John Gallagher who, like Curran, has previously employed him over jumps.
Gallagher said: “Timmy rode her out yesterday and also watched the video of her winning at Brighton. He’ll get a bit of experience on Sean’s before riding mine, although it’s not as if riding on the Flat will be totally new to him.”
Clerk of the course Ed Arkell said: “We are very pleased to have Timmy here for his first rides. It will be strange to see him on the Flat having known him as a jump jockey all my racing career, and I’m sure he’ll find Brighton a bit different to Cheltenham.”
Timmy Murphy 2015 specials
Paddy Power bet: 7-4 ride Royal Ascot winner; win British Group 1, 200 champion Flat jockey
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