Fakenham races is one of the sport’s outposts, north of Norwich on the road between King’s Lynn and Cromer. It was actually the 9th racecourse I ever visited, a mere 28 years ago. Among the winners that day were Richard Dunwoody, Norman Williamson, Steve Smith Eccles and Declan Murphy. I wonder if anything has changed there? Maybe time for another visit.
Today at Fakers, on a damp January Monday, trainer Olly Murphy won no fewer than four of the six races; two ridden by champion Richard Johnson, and two by 7lb claimer Fergus Gregory.
Murphy is only in his mid 20s. You could say he was bred for the job. His mother is a trainer and his father a highly successful bloodstock agent. And to get ready Olly spent the four years before getting his licence with none other than Gordon Elliott. So he should know a thing or two about training winners, lots of them. His four today at Fakenham came from 11 horses that he saddled, amazingly a quarter of the total runners on the card. Very ‘Elliot-esq’ you could say.
There is a lot to be said for a strategy of banging out the winners in low grade races and keeping your name in the news as a strategy to continue to attract more owners, better horses and greater success. Plenty have trodden that path before.
Today’s winners will put Olly on the verge of the top 20 in the Trainer’s championship. This is no mean feat so early in your career. This year he has already trained 36 winners at a decent strike rate (approx 22%) – impressive stats.
I’m impressed with his comprehensive approach to communications too. He is clearly thoughtful about how best to embrace digital and social media. I like his website, it is fresh and inviting with some great imagery; he blogs and has a busy twitter account and has Facebook sorted too. This investment in digital certainly makes me feel that owning a horse with Murphy would not only offer a chance of success, but also be a lot of fun. And what more could you want – and he has a page on his website that clearly sets out the different routes into ownership (though not the costs).
I’ve no doubt we will hear plenty about Olly Murphy in the coming years. He is a trainer going places, quickly, and I for one will be keeping a close eye on him.