Murphy keeps options open for Quito's weekend date
Colm Murphy is debating whether to run Quito De La Roque at either Aintree or Punchestown this weekend.
The eight-year-old holds an entry in Sunday's Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at the Kildare venue and will also be put in the Listed chase over three miles and one furlong at Aintree a day earlier.
Murphy was pleased with Quito De La Roque's third place behind Kauto Stone in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal four weeks ago – his first racecourse action since last Christmas.
"He's in the John Durkan and we'll give him an entry at Aintree in the three-mile Listed chase the day before," said the trainer. "He ran well at Down Royal and I'm hoping he'll come on a bit for it."
Murphy is eyeing up a trip to Cork on Sunday for Big Zeb ahead of the veteran's bid to win a fourth Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown. The Hilly Way Chase is the obvious option for his stable stalwart as part of 11-year-old's preparation for the Grade One.
"He's very good," Murphy said. "We'll give him an entry in the Hilly Way at Cork on Sunday. All being well, we'll go back to Leopardstown at Christmas."
Elsewhere, Paul Nicholls tweeted yesterday morning that runner-up Tidal Bay returned unscathed from the Hennessy. The revitalised 11-year-old is now in the frame to contest the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28, where he could renew rivalry with First Lieutenant.
Mouse Morris' decision to travel over from Ireland with the seven-year-old gelding was vindicated after he finished an honourable third. "It was a pity the ground was tacky, but he ran a big race," said Morris. "He jumped super and was given a great ride – what more can you ask for?"