Kalashnikov is set to make his next appearance at Newbury later this month, after Amy Murphy ruled out running in next week’s BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
A top-class novice chaser last season, the six-year-old made an encouraging start to the new campaign when runner-up to Forest Bihan in last month’s Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
He was a best priced 8-1 for the feature event of the November meeting at Cheltenham, but Murphy has decided to sidestep the fiercely competitive handicap in favour of a trip to Berkshire.
She said: “He’s A1 and cantered this morning. I just feel Cheltenham is going to come a touch too soon for him after Aintree – and I’m not sure running him in a 20-runner handicap with all the hurly burly is the right thing to do at this stage of the season.
“The plan now is to go to Newbury for the two-and-a-half-mile handicap on the Friday of the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting – it’s the race Aso won for Venetia Williams last season.”
The Newmarket-based trainer is still likely to be represented in the BetVictor Gold Cup, after confirming Mercian Prince – a best priced 50-1 – an intended runner.
“All being well, Mercian Prince will run at Cheltenham,” Murphy added.