Murphy's life taking on a whole new Dimension
CONOR MURPHY will complete a remarkable journey when he saddles Dimension in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Just 19 months ago, the man from Ballineen in West Cork was assistant head lad to Nicky Henderson in Lambourn. Then Riverside Theatre landed the fifth and final leg of a spectacular £1m accumulator at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
The remarkable winning bet allowed Murphy (29) to follow his dreams and, as both owner and trainer of Dimension, he now finds himself chasing $1m (£620,000) with a horse that is definitely no forlorn hope.
Murphy's second big gamble has already paid off. "When I decided to start training, people told me that I should get myself a flagship horse to get my name out there," he said.
"I had a quiet month waiting for my visa, which gave me time to do a lot of research and I came up with Dimension, which had won three races for James Fanshawe, so I bought him with some of my winnings."
Once again Murphy's judgment has proved correct and when the five-year-old gelding won the $200,000 Grade Two Play The King Stakes at Woodbine in August, he more than repaid his purchase price in one hit.
"Tom Symonds, who was with me at Henderson's, trained a nice winner over jumps back home recently and it won £1,500," he said, to highlight why he is now based in Louisville and not Lambourn. "Dimension picked up $20,000 for finishing fifth in the Woodbine Mile and $30,000 when he was second in another race. That's why I'm here."
The horse was bought out of Fanshawe's yard to sell on, but the only half-hearted offer he received would have involved the horse being moved to California, so he turned it down. Dimension now runs in the name of Murphy's business, Riverside Bloodstock.
Dimension will be ridden by another Irishman, the Woodbine-based Davy Moran, who used to be second jockey to Jim Bolger.
While not confident of beating last year's winner, Mizdirection, which is five from five at Santa Anita, Murphy is hopeful that Dimension will challenge. (© Daily Telegraph, London)