Seeing Kalashnikov’s name in lights at last year’s ROA Horseracing Awards was “unbelievable” according to his trainer, Amy Murphy.
Kalashnikov, who is owned by Amy’s father Paul, was crowned Racing Breaks Outstanding Novice Hurdler at the 2018 ceremony, after the 8,000-strong membership of the Racehorse Owners Association had cast their votes.
Murphy said: “I never thought in a million years that Kalashnikov would win, as I thought Summerville Boy would take the prize.
“It was hugely exciting and to have everybody there to celebrate like Jack [Quinlan, jockey] and my dad was the cherry on top. The humbling part of it was the fact that it was voted for by the ROA members.
“To see his name in lights in front of people like Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, along with others I admire, was mind-blowing.”
Having spent time in Australia with Gai Waterhouse, Murphy has first-hand experience of how that nation treats owners. Each year she hosts her owners with a special day at Southgate Stables.
She said: “In Australia, they make a massive thing of making the owner feel involved. That taught me how to make owners feel valued by giving a little back and thanking them for their support.
“Some of the owners talk about it five months in advance! It might only be one day in the year but it is always a good afternoon.”
Since taking out her licence in 2016, Murphy has trained a mix of Flat and National Hunt horses. She is based at Southgate Stables on Hamilton Road and her continued success has vindicated her decision to train on racecourse side in Newmarket.
“I love being on this side of town, particularly for the jumpers,” Murphy said. “I don’t like the hustle and bustle of Warren Hill.
“Plenty of people said I was mad coming over to this side to train, but we’ve found something that works for us here.”
Murphy has enjoyed her best ever season on the Flat in 2019 with a current tally of 20 winners in Great Britain, including the three-time winning Thegreatestshowman, who has earned £27,567 in prize-money.
The former assistant to Tom Dascombe and Luca Cumani is hopeful of surpassing that number in 2020 and said: “The aim is to keep improving things each year. We’re still pretty much the same numbers-wise, around the ten to 12 mark, but we’ve been sent more horses for the Flat.”
Murphy also has an exciting band of novices for the jumps season including Logan Rocks, who made a winning start to this season when an impressive four and a half length winner of a two-mile maiden hurdle at Huntingdon earlier this month.
Following Kalashnikov’s seasonal reappearance in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, when he finished second to Forest Bihan, the six-year-old will contest the 2m4f handicap chase at Newbury on Friday.
Of her stable star’s chances at Newbury, where he will carry top weight of 11st 12lb, Murphy said: “He’ll need to put in a career-best to win it. We are looking forward to it and he’s in good form. This is his only option as there is nothing left-handed for him over Christmas.”
New venue – new date! Join the ROA for racing’s big night out as they celebrate the equine stars of 2019 on December 12 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. Places are going fast so don’t miss out – book your place today at https://www.roa.co.uk/event/horseracing-awards-2019.html