Strong Leader set to miss Champion Bumper despite strong showing in Cheltenham

Trainer Olly Murphy will not head down the Champion Bumper route with Strong Leader despite finishing second to Encanto Bruno at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Owned by the Welfordgolf Syndicate, Strong Leader made a winning introduction at Warwick in May but saw his colours lowered in the Spirax-Sarco Engineering Sustainability Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Murphy says the Passing Glance gelding will be a different proposition over hurdles.

"He's a nice horse but very raw still," said Murphy. "He will have learned loads on Saturday and he is hopefully a horse to look forward to. He will go jumping hurdles now.

"He will start off in a two-mile maiden hurdle in three weeks' time.

"I think he can achieve plenty over hurdles, as he has loads of toe.

"Just with him being five, I'm keen to kick on with him, so he won't be going down the Champion Bumper route."

The Warwickshire-based handler is set to unleash last season's Long Distance Hurdle winner Thomas Darby in the Grade Two bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday.

The nine-year-old, owned by Diana Whateley, was last seen finishing fourth to Sire Du Berlais in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in April.

Murphy said: "The plan is to run. He is in very good form. He disappointed in this race last year (when fourth) but I'm hoping it won't be the same this year.

"He has had a wind op since Aintree and we are really looking forward to running him."

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