OLLY Murphy has earmarked a step up to Grade Two company for Butch who completed a hat-trick of wins for the season on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham with a tenacious success in the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle.
Arriving on the back of wins at Southwell and on the Old Course at Cheltenham in October the gelded son of Kayf Tara added to those successes much to the delight of Wilmcote handler Murphy when showing the best of his battling abilities in the three-mile test.
One of a host of horses still in with a chance at the last, the 7-2 chance made the best of his way home under James Bowen after putting in a solid leap at the final obstacle where favourite, and eventual third, Ed Keeper blundered away his chance of victory.
Although My Bobby Dazzler threw down a serious challenge during the climb to the line, Butch continued to stick his head out when asked for his maximum effort by Bowen before winning by a neck.
And following the race Murphy was quick to earmark the Grade Two Betfred Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock Park on Saturday, February 17 as a potential target for Butch.
Murphy said: “He has got a great attitude. I love this horse. I don’t like talking horses up, but if they all had an attitude like he has then it would be great.
“There will be three horses in that race that will be graded horses in 12 months’ time. It was a strong race and I’m delighted.
“I like how he wins. If the second horse had come to him 100 yards earlier he would have just gone again. He has got a great attitude and I’m chuffed.
“I will probably go to Haydock Park for the Rendlesham. As daft as it sounds that could be him then done for the season. If he was to have a spring target you could potentially look at Aintree.”
And while Murphy still has plenty to look forward to with Butch this campaign he admits he is already excited about seeing the seven-year-old tackle a fence next season.
Murphy added: “He is a big shell of a horse and there is loads of improvement. I said to my assistant Ger (Tumelty) while watching it that I cannot wait until he jumps a fence next season.”