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Murphy beaming with pride as Kalashnikov goes ever so close


Amy Murphy was filled with pride after Kalashnikov was pipped just before the line at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

With four victories from his five career outings — including winning the Betfair Hurdle last time out — Murphy’s five-year-old went off as the 5/1 second favourite to win the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However, that one defeat came at the hands of Summerville Boy during January’s 32Red Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle and history ended up repeating itself on jump racing’s biggest stage.

Positioned handily early on by jockey Jack Quinlan, Kalashnikov settled well as favourite Getabird led the field under Ruby Walsh.

Encouraged along two fences from home by Quinlan, the son of Kalanisi hit the front and after clearing the last with the lead intact, victory was very much in sight.

But, having recovered from a mistake at the second last, Summerville Boy (9/1) made up the ground to deny Murphy a big triumph on her Cheltenham debut.

The Hamilton Road-based trainer said: “I’m so proud of Kalashnikov. He travelled brilliantly throughout and he went through the ground as well.

“The hill can find plenty of horses out and he just tired up the hill.

“He winged the last and I was hoping that he would hold on, but Summerville Boy is a good horse, so we’re happy to just finish second in a Grade 1.

“He’s been a superstar this season and I’m absolutely delighted with how things have gone and his performance today.

“He’s a really exciting horse and that will be his final run of the year.

“To finish second in two Grade 1s and win a Betfair Hurdle is a brilliant season and he’ll be an exciting horse for next season.

“We’ll definitely go chasing next season and we’re looking forward to that.”

The combination of Murphy and Quinlan will go again at the Festival on Thursday with Mercian Prince in the Grade 3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (4.10pm).

• Redicean — recently purchased by Cheveley Park Stud’s Patricia and David Thompson — is the 10/3 second favourite to win tomorrow’s Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm).

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