Tag Archive for: Kalashnikov

Amy Murphy leaning towards Aintree date for Kalashnikov

Amy Murphy is planning a high-profile spring campaign for stable star Kalashnikov – although his participation in the Ryanair Chase is less likely than a trip to Aintree next month.

The former Betfair Hurdle and Grade One novice chase winner lost his way a little a year ago but, following wind surgery last September, has run very well on his two most recent starts – including when third in the Denman Chase, up to three miles, at Newbury two weeks ago

Murphy said: “He’s in very good form. We were delighted, and he definitely stayed the three miles.

“We’ve obviously been riding him a little bit patiently. I think it’s safe to say he’s got his confidence back now, and he’ll be ridden much more in the thick of it the next day.

“We’re happy to wait for Aintree, but he’ll stay in the Ryanair (for now) just in case.

“It’ll be a last-minute decision. It will just depend how he trains over the next 10 days.”

Kalashnikov’s principal target at this stage is back at Aintree – where he won the Manifesto Novices’ Chase in 2019 – and Murphy will choose between the Melling Chase over two and a half miles and Betway Bowl, over an extended three.

“It will be the Melling or the three-mile race (Betway Bowl),” she said.

“We’ve no concerns about the three miles, absolutely not, definitely not round there.

“I think if anything he galloped all the way to the line the other day, looking like he needed three miles.

“It’s great to have him anywhere near back to his best – and healthwise, he’s in tip-top order, which is fantastic.”

While Kalashnikov may not line up at Cheltenham, Murphy is preparing her “proper mare” Really Super to take on the mighty challenge from either side of the Irish Sea at the Festival.

Murphy’s heroine of the Summer Plate at Market Rasen was an easy winner of a jumpers’ bumper at Lingfield during last month’s freeze-up, and the Newmarket trainer is confident she will do herself proud if ground conditions are in her favour for the inaugural running of the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase.

Really Super, who will be representing enthusiastic ownership syndicate White Diamond Racing, will need to lower some stellar colours among her rivals – currently including Willie Mullins’ two prolific winners Elimay and Colreevy at the top of the market.

Her trainer is nonetheless keen to take up the challenge.

“We definitely will (run), as long as the ground allows,” said Murphy.

“She’s a proper mare, and we gave her a little spin in a jumpers’ bumper after her winter break, just to get her back to full fitness.

“It worked really well for her. We’d planned to give her a racecourse gallop a week later, but we thought we’d take advantage of the jumpers’ bumpers while they were there.

“She couldn’t have done it any more easily, so we’re very excited about her – if it’s not at Cheltenham, then for the season ahead.

“She was a very good winner of the Summer Plate, and top of the ground is absolutely key to her.

“She wouldn’t run if it came up anything other than good to soft or better.”

The Festival is very much at the top of the agenda for the seven-year-old, though, and the only regret is that coronavirus restrictions will prevent her owners from being in attendance.

Murphy said: “It’s such a shame, because for a syndicate of that size, how many times do you get a horse going to Cheltenham? It’s not as if she’s going there as a massive outsider either.

“It’s really unfortunate. But they’ll throw a good zoom party!

“They adore her. For what we paid for her, she’s been nothing but superb. She’s won on the Flat, over hurdles and fences multiple times.

“We’re very lucky to have her.”

Kalashnikov firmly in the mix for rescheduled Peterborough Chase

Amy Murphy’s stable star Kalashnikov is set to return to Cheltenham for the rescheduled Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase.

The seven-year-old was not due to contest the Grade Two contest in its original guise at Huntingdon, due to his preference for left-handed tracks.

However, with Huntingdon’s fixture abandoned due to flooding, the race was rescheduled and switched to Friday’s card at Cheltenham, where Kalashnikov was narrowly beaten in the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Murphy said: “The Peterborough Chase wasn’t Plan A as usually it’s run right-handed, but now it’s been switched to a left-handed track, he’s very much an intended runner.”

Kalashnikov suffered a broken blood vessel on his final start of last season when fifth behind Altior in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

But Murphy was encouraged by his start to the new campaign, when seventh over hurdles at Haydock last month.

She added: “We were very happy with the run at Haydock. He probably just didn’t quite see out the three miles, but he’ll have come on plenty for that and there was no bleed, which was the main thing.”

Seven of the nine horse declared for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon are again in contention – Bun Doran, Top Notch, Mister Fisher, Al Dancer, Dolos, Fanion D’Estruval and Glen Forsa – but Nuts Well and Forest Bihan are not.

Clondaw Castle, Master Tommytucker and Militarian are also among the 11-strong field.

Murphy eyes Haydock hurdles return for Kalashnikov

Kalashnikov is set to return to the smaller obstacles in the Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle.

Amy Murphy’s star has proved himself a very smart performer over fences in the last two seasons, winning a Grade One as a novice at Aintree and finishing second in the Old Roan last year.

His form tailed off in the second half of the campaign, though, when he broke blood vessels, and he faces a step up in trip back over hurdles on Saturday.

Murphy said: “We’re very much planning to run as long as it is not bottomless.

“He stayed two and a half miles well last year. Obviously he’s had a few issues, so this is very much a starting point for him.

“We’ll just take it as it comes for the rest of the season – if he loves it on Saturday he could stay over hurdles, but the plan is just to get him back on song – fingers crossed we have no more bleeding episodes.

“Prior to those last two runs, he’d never been out of the first two (when completing) and both times he bled.

“We’ve put everything into getting him back. We’ve given him plenty of time, we’ve freshened him up and please God it was something underlying rather than him having an issue.”

There are 24 still in contention for the £80,000 prize, which is no longer run over fixed brush hurdles.

David Pipe’s prolific winner Main Fact is among the market leaders, having lost just once in nine outings for current connections.

His last three wins have come on the Flat, seeing him rise from a mark of 60 to 78 – while his current jumps rating of 147 is 49lb higher than when he joined the yard. Pipe could also run Duc De Beauchene.

Midlands Grand National – Uttoxeter Racecourse
Main Fact arrives on a winning streak (Tim Goode/PA)

There are two possible Irish contenders in Colm Murphy’s Relegate, winner of the 2018 Champion Bumper for Willie Mullins, and The Jam Man – trained in Northern Ireland by Ronan McNally.

The Jam Man was last seen bolting up off a much lower mark over fences in the valuable Troytown Chase at Navan.

Hughie Morrison’s Third Wind, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Wholestone, Royal Ascot winner Who Dares Wins and Fergal O’Brien’s Imperial Alcazar are just a few other potential major contenders in what is sure to be a competitive affair.

Last year’s Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase winner Itchy Feet is among the entries for the Graduation Chase on the card – but he is also entered in a Grade Two at Ascot.

Good Boy Bobby, Master Tommytucker and Windsor Avenue are possible opponents should he run on Merseyside.

No rush to make plans Kalashnikov return

Amy Murphy is taking her time as she plans a comeback for her stable star Kalashnikov.

The seven-year-old gave Murphy’s Newmarket yard a first Grade One success when taking the Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in 2019.

He looked to have retained his form the following autumn when runner-up in two successive handicap chases, including the Grade Two Old Roan Chase, also at Aintree.

The gelding subsequently lost his way, however, running with an uncharacteristic lack of zest to trail home in both the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

He was later to found to have burst blood vessels on both occasions and has not been seen on a racecourse since, but Murphy reports her stable star is well and gaining fitness ahead of his return.

“He’s fine, he’s only just started to gallop so we’ve nothing much to report as of yet,” she said,

“Touch wood it’s been so far, so good.”

Murphy currently has no firm plans for the seven-time winner, who is still in the earlier stages of preparation.

“We haven’t put him under any pressure yet, so we can’t really know where we’re at,” she said.

“But so far he’s been fine.

“He burst (a blood vessel) badly twice, but there was nothing underlying. For the meantime we’ll just continue to bring him along slowly and see how we go.”