Kalashnikov Set for Cheltenham Bonus Race at Plumpton

Once again this season, Plumpton have put their novice chase bonus on and once again they have been rewarded with some top class entries. It is expected that Kalashnikov will line up at the course on Monday, in one of five bonus races they are staging. If a horse can win a bonus race, and then goes on to win at the Cheltenham Festival, they will be paid a bonus of £60,000.

The initiative has now beeen running for quite a while, and you have to go back 12 years to 2006 to find the last time a horse landed the bonus. That was Voy Por Ustedes for Alan King, and this time around Amy Murphy’s horse looks to be one of the best challengers we have had in a while. Amy has rightfully targeted Plumpton due to the bonus, and the horse currently sits at the head of the market for the Arkle Chase in March.

We have only seen Kalashnikov once over fences, and while he didn’t do too much wrong, he will have to improve to win an Arkle. His trainer Murphy said that is exactly what he would do, and for her the main aim over the next couple of months is to get some further experience into him. Plumpton offers a solid jumping test, although it is not a course that has particularly stiff fences, and in many respects it is an ideal place for novice horses to go.

At the five day stage, 16 horses have been entered for the race at Plumpton on Monday, so it is highly likely that we will see Kalashnikov take on more runners in this one than he did on debit. He had to just three rivals to take on when making his debut at Warwick, and was sent off as the 1/4 favourite that day.

Plumpton should be applauded for putting this bonus in play, and this season in particular they look set to be rewarded by attracting one of the most exciting young horses in training to their track. Kalashnikov has a genuine chance of winning the Arkle Chase this season, and his next step will come down at Plumpton on Monday. We haven’t seen him at his best over fences yet, but experience is key for this horse, and as the season progresses you can expect to see him turn into a genuine Cheltenham contender in March.