Arkle still the target for Kalashnikov
Trainer Amy Murphy says Kalashnikov will contest the Racing Post Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival rather than step up in trip.
Kalashnikov suffered a shock defeat in the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Sandown last time out and it had been suggested connections may switch targets at Cheltenham to the JLT Novices' Chase, but Murphy has decided against a change in plan.
"Kalashnikov didn't even blow after Sandown. By the time he got to the winners' enclosure he had stopped blowing for whatever reason," she told 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."
She added: "We are not changing tack and sticking to the Arkle. If you go back to the past 18 months, in his Betfair Hurdle [won], Supreme Novices' Hurdle run [second] 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."
Gareth Freeman is an experienced journalist who can offer in-depth knowledge on a host of sports, especially football, tennis, snooker and basketball.