IT REMAINS full steam forward to the Arkle for Amy Murphy’s satisfaction and pleasure Kalashnikov.
The JLT had tempted Murphy, however following an excellent head scratch the coach determined to stay to her weapons and the 2 mile journey round Cheltenham.
After the mud settled on his second to Dynamite within the Wayward Lad at Kempton, Murphy remained buoyed by the run.
The Newmarket handler has lined up the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick in a months time as perfect preparation for the Pageant.
Murphy instructed Solar Racing: “Total I used to be very joyful, as joyful as you may be coming second.
“Final 12 months he was beat within the Tolworth Hurdle and went on to win a Betfair Hurdle and run effectively at Cheltenham.
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“He got beat at the first three fences where he made two huge mistakes. He will learn a lot from that race and is definitely better going left handed.
“Because of those mistakes he was just on his head the rest of the way trying to catch up.
“The horse back in third was rated 140 and we beat him god knows how many lengths.”
Murphy admitted she was tempted by the JLT and a step up to two-and-a-half-miles but thinks the six-year-old still has plenty to offer over two.
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She continued: “I’ve come back again and again and looked at all the Arkle winners. They all tend to be three milers in the end and I think staying at that trip is the right thing to do for now.
“He’s got all the time in the world to move up – this season, next year and all the other years.
“While we’re holding our own at two miles, we’ll keep him at two miles.
“Even at the end of this season, if we see at Cheltenham that he needs two-and-a-half then we know what to do.”
Murphy was agonisingly close to landing Festival success last season, when Summerville Boy headed Kalashnikov on the line in the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Hoping to go one better this March, Murphy will run Kalashnikov in the Kingmaker Chase next month.
Murphy added: “He’ll definitely have another run. The problem with him is, although he’s a bit quiet at the moment as he’s entitled to be, he gets very fresh very quickly.
“So to keep a lid on him he will run again. The Kingmaker Chase at Warwick will be the aim if all is well.”
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase Betting
Dynamite Dollars 7-1
Le Richebourg 8-1
Mengli Khan 12-1
Defi Du Seuil 14-1