Amy Murphy is already starting to dream of a Cheltenham Festival fairytale with Kalashnikov after he made it two wins from two starts over fences.
Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up will aim to go one better in the Cotswolds if he makes it to the Racing Post Arkle on March 12.
He could scarcely have made a better start to his new discipline, backing up a win at Warwick with an impressive round of jumping and an 18-length success at Plumpton on Monday.
Kalashnikov has put himself in line for a £60,000 bonus should he win at the Cheltenham Festival this season after his most recent success and his young trainer feels he is collecting the sort of experience that will stand him in good stead for the bigger tests ahead.
“That was fantastic, and I’m absolutely delighted – not that I watched a lot of it, but it sounded very good. (Jockey) Jack (Quinlan) was ecstatic coming in,” Murphy said.
“Fitness wise, he was sharper and he learnt a lot at Warwick, and he was pretty much foot perfect out there.
“He has had the height of Warwick, and it is trappy round here (as well), and going over the downhill fence will stand him in good stead. It is exciting for the future for a team of our size.”
Murphy trains the horse for her father and admits it would be rather special if they could team up for Festival success in the Arkle. She wants two more runs before then and suggests the owner needs to come and see him strut his stuff soon.
“He will all being well go to Kempton for the Wayward Lad – then either Doncaster, or Warwick for the Kingmaker. You are looking at two more runs before Cheltenham,” she added.
“Dad (Paul Murphy, owner) has never seen him win, so we have got that superstition out of the way.
“I think the Arkle market is hotting up all the time – and come March, please God I hope they all turn up.
“Nothing would give me more pleasure than giving my dad a Cheltenham Festival winner.” Kalashnikov is the 5.50 favourite for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.