Smooth chasing debut for Kalashnikov

Kalashnikov comes home to win the Betfair Hurdle
Kalashnikov comes home to win the Betfair Hurdle

Kalashnikov made a successful start to his career over fences in the £50 Risk Free On Racing With Smarkets Novices' Chase at Warwick.

Amy Murphy's stable star enjoyed a fine novice hurdling campaign last season, winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury before being narrowly denied by Summerville Boy in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He was unsurprisingly a warm order to see off just three rivals on his chasing debut under Jack Quinlan and the 1/4 favourite ultimately got the job done with the minimum of fuss.

Quinlan settled his mount at the rear of the quartet during the early stages of the two-mile contest and Kalashnikov travelled powerfully.

He made a slight error at the first open ditch and pitched on landing after over-jumping an obstacle in the back straight, but otherwise he was neat and accurate and he had his three opponents in trouble before the home turn.

Huntsman Son followed him into the straight, but Kalashnikov soon asserted and passed the post with 11 lengths in hand.

Sky Bet left the winner unchanged at 5/1 for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March.

Murphy said: "We're delighted. He made a couple of novicey mistakes, but he was entitled to do so and he was probably only 85 per cent fit today.

"Coming to the ditch, Jack said Kalashnikov lined up a long one and Jack just held him back to teach him something. He didn't want him to be silly. Other than that he was good and I'm sure he'll improve."

Kalashnikov could make his next appearance in an extended two-mile novice chase at Plumpton on December 3, with the Sussex track offering a £60,000 bonus for any horse who can win a one of a handful of selected races before going on to claim Cheltenham Festival glory in March.

"We've had our eye on the Plumpton bonus for a while, but it depends on him coming out of this race well," said Murphy.

"That race is only a few weeks away in early December, so we'll see."


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