Meet Robert Murphy, the young showjumper with big ambitions
Had anyone told Rob Murphy, two and a half years ago, he would have won the senior Foxhunter final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), “I wouldn’t have believed them”.
The horse on which Rob had won the 2019 under-25 championship had been sold, another top horse was retired, and then came Covid.
“Everyone was panicking a bit,” Rob said. “My owners, rightly, took the horses away for a bit to save money, and I had to keep money coming in. I’d just got my HGV licence, so I went to a local fruit and veg firm and got a job driving a truck. I had no horses in my stable at one point.”
But Robert and Peter Charles’ homebred eight-year-old Chawton showed their class to take the title tonight; they were one of only six combinations, from 24 starters, to jump clear in the first round, and the only ones to go clear in the jump-off.
“I’ve had this class in my sights for a long time,” said Rob, 21, whose father Peter took the senior Foxhunter final in 1994. “This is my third go at it and I’m really happy to win.”
Rob said the Typhoon S gelding can be spooky, but “He’s very careful and always tries to jump the jumps. He’s naturally quick and nippy, and every time I’ve not won this class it’s because I haven’t jumped clear so I needed to jump clear tonight.”
He added that he picked up a few new rides last winter, all of whom had classes to suit them at HOYS, so the show was a major target.
“Since before Christmas, I’ve been eyeing up this class,” he said, adding that all the young horses he rides are produced slowly and carefully. “I look up to Peter’s operation, and what he’s done and is doing; to be part of something like that is massive.”
The aim will now be carefully to aim for some ranking classes with Chawton, as will be the case for Lightning TW, another of Peter Charles’ eight-year-olds, who won the Talent Seekers with Rob last night.
“My string of horses now is as good as it’s ever been,” said Rob. “To have the backing and support from my owners and sponsors, who have stuck by me throughout, is incredible.”
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