Murphy wants ‘better ground’ at Cheltenham

HIGH HOPES: Kalashnikov will go for Amy Murphy in the Supreme Hurdle at Cheltenham
HIGH HOPES: Kalashnikov will go for Amy Murphy in the Supreme Hurdle at Cheltenham

Despite having proved his versatility while winning on four out of five career outings, Amy Murphy is hoping for ‘better ground’ when Kalashnikov goes for glory at next week’s Cheltenham Festival, writes Liam Apicella.

The five-year-old has conquered almost all that has been put before him so far, including victory last time out in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle — Britain’s richest handicap hurdle.

Post-race pictures of mud-splattered jockey Jack Quinlan highlighted just how soft the ground had been on that occasion, but Kalashnikov responded well to late pressure to give Murphy the biggest win of her training career to date.

Nevertheless, as she bids to top that success down in Gloucestershire, the Hamilton Road-based trainer would prefer much drier conditions by the time the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets under way on Tuesday (1.30pm).

“He has done his last piece of work and is in great order,” said the country’s youngest trainer.

“Now it is all about some cantering and keeping him in this shape.

“I would like it to dry out at Cheltenham quickly.

“I know he is capable on the soft ground — he is versatile after all.

“But I would love to see him go on the better ground. For me, that will suit him even more.”

As The Journal went to print, Kalashnikov was the 9/2 third favourite to win the Supreme.

• Turn to page 95 for an interview with Kalashnikov’s jockey, Newmarket-based Jack Quinlan