Day At The Track

Brents belief brings two from two!

10:00 AM 23 Oct 2020 NZDT
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Brent Murphy with Image of Courage after the pacer’s first win in nearly four years at Terang,Harness racing
Brent Murphy with Image of Courage after the pacer’s first win in nearly four years at Terang
Terang HRC

Nine-year-old gelding Image of Courage might have had a few years away from the winners' circle, but that didn't discourage Ballarat harness racing driver Brent Murphy from taking a chance on "the old boy".

Murphy was confident he could get the pacer to again hit his straps, and his faith wasn't misplaced.

Not only did Image Of Courage (Courage Under Fire-Its Sealed With A Kiss (Falcon Seelster) score his first win in nearly four years recently, he's now made it back-to-back victories with a win at Melton on Wednesday afternoon.

Murphy said the association with Image of Courage came after he was lucky to pick up a drive on the horse at Bendigo a few months ago for local trainer Wayne Gretgrix.

"Jayden Brewin was down to drive the horse, but he was obliged to handle another one in the same race, so I ended up on Wayne's pacer," Murphy said.

"I'd driven the old boy a few times-and I reckon on one occasion he missed out on running second by a nostril," he said.

"The horse didn't go as well as he can that day, and I got talking to Wayne after the race and he virtually said to me if I thought I could do any good with the horse, take him. Dad was hesitant at first, but because he was race fit and I was keen to have a crack, we ended up with him."

Murphy admitted the first few starts with the pacer "weren't all that flash".

"He played up at our first go, then hit the sulky wheels in the run at his next start and then hung-but he wasn't getting beaten by all that much," he said.

"When we won at Terang, I made the decision to sit outside them and he went enormous. At Melton I grabbed hold and went back to last early, then with the slow pace I decided at the 1200m mark to get around them quick smart.

"We've got him worked out at the moment in that you can use him, then he will settle. Wayne's just rapt for us. He's been so supportive and sends congratulation texts to us. When we're finished, he wants him back because he's organized a home for life for the horse."

Image of Courage's follow up win nine days later at Melton also set up a career highlight for his talented young driver, as the first leg of Murphy's first ever driving double.

"I'm not too sure how long Image Of Courage can keep up this form, but he has improved with each run," Murphy said.

The 18-year-old, a son of respected trainer-driver David, also scored with Colossal Stride (Bettors Delight-Tailamade Lombo (Troublemaker) for visiting Sydney-based horseman Anthony Butt.

"I've never driven for Anthony before, so I was thrilled to be offered the drive. It had a bit of irony about it. Anthony helped me to get my very first double, but my dad David actually gave Chris Butt (Anthony's son) his first winning drive years ago," Murphy said.

"I only just got the win in the end by a narrow margin. I actually thought I may have got pipped on the post. I got on my bike pretty quick as I knew Kate (Gath) on Hit The Sky would storm home, but Colossal Stride lasted to beat her by half a head."

David Murphy shows his winning style          -Stuart McCormick photo

Image Of Courage has now won 12 races with 14 placings for over $80,000. His previous win prior to the two-from-two recently, was way back in November 2016, when successful at Maitland and trained by Roy Roots junior.

The Terang win also provided a special piece of Murphy family history, and a rarity of the sport with father and son winning on the same program.

Brent was victorious on Image of Courage in race two, and then David followed suit in the very next event by leading all the way with Metro Man (Metropolitan-Beach Kat (Safely Kept) for breeder/owner Garry Loats.

Metro Man has now won five races in his career, three of these at the Terang circuit.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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