Hi Murphy bounced back to winning form when he got up inside the final 100 yards to win the Frank Fitzsimmons Memorial Hunter Chase in the hands of Declan Lavery.
Sean McParlan’s seven-year-old had brought up a sequence of successes during the Winter when he won consecutive races at Loughanmore before completing his hat-trick at Farmacaffley in February. Since then he had run a number of fine races in defeat, including when second to Casey Jem at Cork over Easter, however he entered the race on something of a recovery mission having finished last, beaten 39 lengths on his first appearance in open company at Necarne earlier in the month.
Sent off as the 5/2 favourite for the 2m 7f contest, the Peter Murphy-bred and owned son of Gamut was never too far away from the pace, but he faced a stiff task to overhaul the recent course and distance winner My Oakclahome, with Richie Deegan trying to make the best of his way home from the third last.
That six-year-old still held the advantage over the final fence, however it was only as the climb to the line began to take its toll on David O’Brien’s charge, that Hi Murphy was able to strike inside the final 100 yards to ultimately win by two lengths.
The Lisronagh maiden winner My Oakclahome in turn finished two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of Stradbally winner Crutches Lad, with Is This It, a stalwart of the northern points circuit in recent years, running one of his best races to finish in fourth under Tom Reilly.