Trainer Amy Murphy looks set to resist temptation and keep stable star Kalashnikov in the Racing Post Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival (Kalashnikov 10/1 to win the race – outright).
The six-year-old will be back at Prestbury Park in just two weeks’ time but connections had been considering a couple of races for their charge.
He was a 1/4 favourite in the rearranged Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Sandown last time out but he failed to shine as he finished second.
There had been rumblings of a crack at the JLT Novices’ Chase but Murphy has now decided to stick to her guns and keep him in the Arkle.
“Kalashnikov didn’t even blow after Sandown. By the time he got to the winners’ enclosure he had stopped blowing for whatever reason,” Murphy told www.attheraces.com.
“I thought something underlying would come out but thankfully it didn’t and we can go to Cheltenham. For whatever reason on that day he just wasn’t at the races. We will probably never get an answer. We will carry on what we’ve been doing.
“He is in fabulous form. Literally we can hardly sit on him at home he is so fresh. He schooled fantastically on Thursday morning.
“We are not changing tack and sticking to the Arkle. If you go back to the past 18 months, in his Betfair Hurdle, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle run and his two novice chases he certainly doesn’t lack for speed.
“He is pretty versatile but I think slower ground would play in our favour if there is rain.”
Odds subject to change.