Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase
|Grade 1, Aintree 13:45
2m 3f 200y, Class 1
|Thursday 4th April 2019
1 Kalashnikov 4/1
2 La Bague Au Roi 7/4F
3 Mengli Khan 7/1
6 ran Distances: 1¼l, 1¾l, 27l
Kalashnikov takes the win over La Bague Au Roi in the opener at Aintree
Newmarket trainer Amy Murphy scored her first Grade One winner when 4/1 shot Kalashnikov, ridden by Jack Quinlan, won by a length and a quarter from 7/4 favourite La Bague Au Roi.
Murphy said: "Unbelievable! I am hugely proud of our team. We only have 10 jumpers, so to produce a horse like that - I'm delighted for them. To have three runners here today... I couldn't do any of it without them behind me.
"What a ride from Jack. He rode him like he was the best horse in the race and pounced late. I promise you - I know I bang on, but this horse is top-class and we've seen that today. We've had a couple of things go wrong this season but today he at his very best.
"It couldn't have gone better at the start of the season [he won his first two novices' chases] and then we had Sandown [he was beaten 19 lengths by Glen Forsa when odds-on favourite] and then Cheltenham [he unseated Jack Quinlan at the sixth fence when badly hampered in the Arkle], but this is a great way to finish the season. It's great to get my first Grade One winner for my father [Paul, who owns Kalashnikov].
"I think I lost my shoes twice out there but somehow I've survived!"
Quinlan, who is 28 and a son of Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Noel Quinlan, said: "I'm lost for words really. You work all your life for this. This makes all the mornings and late nights worthwhile."
He added: "We were obviously gutted after Cheltenham, though it was too far out to know how he would have done, but he travelled and jumped so well up to that point, which he hadn't done at Kempton and Sandown."
Asked about the step up in trip, he replied: "I was one hundred percent happy to step, especially on a flat track. We stuck to two miles at Cheltenham, but coming here the flat track and two and a half miles really suited him.
"He ran a blinder in the Supreme last year when just touched off by Summerville Boy, then his first two chase starts against lesser opposition were good, but there's no getting away from it, he was disappointing at both Kempton and Sandown despite finishing second in Grade 1s. That's the real him today."
In reference to the jumping, he said: "He knew where he was going to take off at the first, and he's fine when he gets in short, so I was happy with him there, but then two out at the ditch I gave him a squeeze and he pout down, but otherwise he was very good."
Manifesto Novices' Chase
£100,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 200y, Class 1
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
||Kalashnikov (IRE) 4/1
|Miss Amy Murphy
||La Bague Au Roi (FR) 7/4f
||Mengli Khan (IRE) 7/1
||J W Kennedy
||Bags Groove (IRE) 11/2
||Spiritofthegames (IRE) 8/1
||Glen Forsa (IRE) 11/2
|M R Channon