All smiles: trainer Amy Murphy with her stable star Kalashnikov after victory at Plumpton

Steve Davies

Kalashnikov maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a commanding 18-length success in the Sky Sports Racing Novices’ Chase at Plumpton on Monday, in the process joining Lalor at the head of the Racing Post Arkle market. 

Last season’s Betfair Hurdle winner, who had got off the mark over fences with an 11-length win at Warwick last month, was sent off at 1-7 for the 2m1f novice contest in East Sussex and the result never looked in doubt as the five-year-old jumped and travelled powerfully throughout.

Victory put the five-year-old in line for the £60,000 bonus Plumpton is putting up for any winner of one of five nominated novice events who goes on to score at the festival.

Apart from trailing his legs in the ditch down the back, Kalashnikov produced an excellent round of jumping to overwhelm his five rivals and which thrilled jockey Jack Quinlan and trainer Amy Murphy.

Murphy, who was too nervous to watch the race, said: “That was fantastic, I was absolutely delighted, not that I watched a lot of it, but it sounded very good!

“Jack was ecstatic coming in. Kalashnikov learned an awful lot at Warwick, he was pretty foot perfect here today, and he has come on a lot fitness wise.”

Quinlan, who has ridden Kalashnikov on all his eight starts under rules, said: “It’s nice to get it over and done with but he did do it with any amount in hand. He jumped a lot better on the whole than at Warwick.”

Reflecting on the slight error at the ditch, he added: “I was trying to put the race to bed and saw a long one. He did come up for me but he just left his hind legs trailing. He was meeting most of them on a lovely stride.”

Last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up was trimmed to joint-favourite with Lalor for the Arkle in March – both can be backed at 5-1 with William Hill – and looks set to head to Kempton on December 27 for the 32Red Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase.

Murphy, whose stable star was followed home at Plumpton by second favourite Envoye Special, added: “It’s exciting for the future for a team of our size, and all being well he will go to Kempton for the Wayward Lad, and then probably Doncaster in the new year.” 

Lalor also has the Wayward Lad and Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Owlerton Sheffield Lightning Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster as options.

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