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Image: Darren Winningham

When jockey Michael Murphy went up high in the saddle and punched the air in an exaggerated, ecstatic salute when winning on the Lindsay Gough trained Dr Why Not at Doomben on Saturday, it clearly signalled that the result had special significance for the rider.

As it turned out that significance branched into three areas … a family connection, a matter of progressive, personal development as well as providing a big tick on the professional front.

And Murphy was not about to try to sugar-coat the particular events that turned 2021 into a very challenging year for him.

“I was out for about eight months due to injury and personal issues,” said Murphy. “Then I got back into riding.

“I was getting fit. I was starting to work on and do things for myself and things were starting to look on the upside … but, Dr Why Not had moved to another stable (from Lindsay Gough) for a period of time and they didn’t want to put me on the horse.

“That was a bit sad really, because the deal when my dad bought the horse way back was that if I was riding at the time, it would be my horse to ride.

“Lindsay, my dad and I had a lot to do with the horse’s baby work. We knew what the horse needed. We knew he would need time. We knew he would need blinkers, so I think a lot of what we did made him into the horse he is today.

“As it happens in life, my dad and Lindsay had a disagreement at one time. It was nothing serious, but the horse did move on at that stage … but it came back to Lindsay about three weeks ago and I got to ride it again on Saturday.

“Going into the race, we had given the horse and easy time. He needed that. He only had two gallops leading into the race and he probably didn’t even need that.

“I was very happy where I was in the running. I did try to come to the outside of Jimmy Byrne (riding Don’t Stop), but the run was on the inside and I went for it. He is a Love Conquers All horse. They do handle the wet. Once I levelled up, I was very confident and then we shot home … and that was the race.

“It was a team effort by everybody. For the three weeks we had him we put a lot of effort into the horse.

“I’ve won a few big races … but this was a highlight. It’s got a lot of meaning behind it and it’s very personal, particularly as my dad passed away in October.”

The profoundness of that family attachment coupled with all of the hard work Murphy has been putting in, both in his personal and professional capacity, to resurrect his career all came together and manifested itself in that glorious moment for Murphy and the memory of his dad when took Dr Why Not across the finish line.

For Murphy it was a big metro win and hopefully a watershed result that he can build on moving forward.

“Like I say, I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself … improving myself. Obviously, it has been a tough year, but I just had to pull myself out of the dumps and I’ve got to keep trying do myself proud now … and obviously make my father proud as well.”

“Credit to Michael,” said trainer Lindsay Gough. “It was a really pleasurable win.

“The horse came into my stable and, you know how it is, the thought goes through your mind that you want to keep him performing, that’s for sure … because he’d been going good where he was before.

“Michael has been working very hard. In the past he has hit a few bumps in the road along the way, as most young fellas do, but he is travelling well now and, if he continues to work hard, he will reap the rewards for that.

“He was apprenticed to me for a couple of years.

“He can ride … there’s no doubt about that.”

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