Hope springs eternal
Mike Murphy is planning another crack at Ertijaal when American Hope takes to the track again at Lingfield next week.
Formerly trained in Ireland, American Hope has made a great start for Bedfordshire-based Murphy and finished just a head behind the William Haggas-trained Ertijaal in the Spring Cup over course and distance on March 22.
The colt appeared at Lingfield again last week for his third qualifying start for the Good Friday finals meeting, and failed to see out a mile when third behind Bow Creek and Barley Mow in the Listed International Trial.
American Hope is rated just 1lb behind Ertijaal for the £150,000 prize and Murphy said: "He ran very well in the Spring Cup and then in the International Trial it became a bit of a farce with the two withdrawals at the start leaving only three runners.
"He's qualified and I think he goes there with a big chance on Good Friday. Hopefully William Haggas doesn't go for the prize-money, but I suspect he may do."
A possible rival will be the James Eustace-trained Major Crispies, who was a respectable third behind Ertijaal and American Hope as a 50/1 chance in the Spring Cup.
"He's very well and he worked on Tuesday for the first time since the Spring Cup and we were pleased," the Newmarket trainer said.