2019 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle tips – Murphy’s 12/1 chance can Butcher his Chepstow rivals to land Grade Two win

Chepstow's Friday jumps meeting gets the new season over the sticks underway.

Chepstow’s Friday jumps meeting gets the new season over the sticks underway.

Brian Healy picks out his best bet on Friday’s jumps season oening feature race at Chepstow, the Grade Two Persian War Novices’ Hurdle.

The feature race of the opening day of the 2019/20 jumps season at Chepstow sees the Grade Two Persian War Novices’ Hurdle take centre stage, and the classy contest opens proceeding at 2.10pm to kick off a seven-race card at the Welsh venue.

Boasting a first prize pot of almost £20,000 to the winner, a maximum field of 16 runners will go to post for the extended 2m 3f contest named after the three-time Champion Hurdle winner, Persian War.

The race has a strong history of classy winners, with the likes of Secret Investor, Blaklion, Wonderful harm, Silviniaco Conti and Reve de Sivola all winners of this race in the last ten years, and Brian Healy looks ahead to Friday’s main event over the sticks.

In what is likely to be a typically fierce and competitive renewal of this great contest, it could be worth chancing on THE BUTCHER SAID (12/1, Bet365, each-way) to continue the progression he showed last term, and Olly Murphy’s charge turns out on the back of a four-run winning sequence gained over the summer.

The Robin Des Pres gelding had one run in an Irish bumper for Emmet Mullins prior to joining forced with Warren Greatrex for whom he raced three times without much success.

Following wind surgery and a subsequent move to the shrewd Murphy operation he has since shown himself to be hugely progressive, and he built on a promising runner-up behind Present Road on his first outing for his new yard to rack up a four-timer with successes at Huntingdon, Cartmel, Fontwell and Newton Abbot latterly back in June where he ran out a ten lengths’ winner over Fleur Du Weld, scoring easily.

The bare form of that success may not be the strongest on offer, but his performance that day suggested there was still plenty more to come from the locker and he can continue to improve this term.

All four of his wins have come on good ground, so the possibility of the ground riding softer has to be a slight concern; but he has encountered soft ground in the past when with Warren Greatrex, and he finished runner-up on good-to-soft conditions at Sandown in a bumper for that yard so assuming the ground doesn’t continue to deteriorate then the underfoot conditions are unlikely to present too much of a problem.

He has shown he can go well fresh, and while this is a big step up in class he looks one who is very much going the right way over hurdles and it wouldn’t come as a big surprise to see him find another chunk of improvement on his reappearance where he could post a big run.