Murphy set to put Kalashnikov record on the line in Tolworth
Amy Murphy is ready to let her stable star Kalashnikov put his unbeaten record on the line in the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
The five-year-old won a Wetherby bumper on his racecourse introduction in March and returned to the West Yorkshire circuit to make a successful debut over hurdles in November. He was hugely impressive when slamming the previously unbeaten Irish Prophecy at Doncaster last month and Murphy feels the time has come to test his powers at the highest level.
"This has very much been the plan since Doncaster and he's in great form," Murphy said.
"The ground is not going to be ideal, especially with more rain forecast. We'll see how it goes and make a decision later in the week, but the intention is to run.
Kalashnikov features among 11 entries for the Grade One contest after it was reopened.
Nicky Henderson has claimed this prize four times in the last seven years and he has three contenders, headed by Claimantakinforgan.
Third in last season's Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, the six-year-old has won each of his two starts over hurdles, impressing in the Grade Two Supreme Trial at Ascot.
The Seven Barrows handler could also call upon Whatswrongwithyou and Summit Juvenile Hurdle winner We Have A Dream, while Warren Greatrex has both Dream Brother and Western Ryder in contention.
demoted Min, meanwhile, is set to return to Leopardstown next month for the Dublin Chase.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old passed the post first in last week's Paddy's Rewards Club Chase, but was demoted in the stewards' room after impeding the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned on the run-in.
The French import had previously suffered just one defeat in six starts for the champion trainer when splitting Altior and Buveur D'Air in the 2016 Supreme Novices' Hurdle.