Kalashnikov a nice price to get punters off to a flyer in the Supreme
The ground won't hold any fears for Amy Murphy's Betfair hero
Winner of his sole bumper start last term, Amy Murphy’s stable star has won three of his four starts over hurdles this season and lost little in defeat when second behind Summerville Boy in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on desperate ground.
The surface wasn’t much better at Newbury next time and again he didn’t seem to enjoy it, but he still stayed on strongly to pull clear from the second-last with his rivals well strung out behind.
That looks strong form, with runner-up Bleu Et Rouge the only horse to finish within 12 lengths of him.
The ground, which is likely to be on the soft side, won’t hold any fears for him now, but crucially it should be slightly better than at Newbury and that may well bring further improvement.
It’s hard to see Summerville Boy confirming the Tolworth form unless the ground is heavy. That is his only win in four runs over hurdles and trainer Tom George feels he will be a better horse next year.
Bookmakers prefer the Irish form and that’s understandable given the record of Irish-trained horses in this race, especially those of Willie Mullins.
However, Mullins felt Getabird was more of a staying type earlier in the season and his latest win over Mengli Khan at Punchestown may have been overrated given the runner-up needs quicker ground.
That still gives him a decent shout, especially on soft ground, but a bigger field and a faster gallop may just take him out of his comfort zone.
Mengli Khan could even reverse the form if the ground is closer to good.
Just below Listed class on the Flat, he won his first three starts over hurdles, including the Grade 1 Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in December, and may well have made it four from four in another Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas but for running out through the wing of the second-last.
Sharjah was widely seen as an unlucky loser in that race having fallen at the last when travelling strongly, but he had already benefited from Mengli Khan’s exit and was put in his place by Samcro last time out.
Claimantakinforgan was third in last year’s Champion Bumper and could figure. He does have something to find judged on this season’s hurdles form, though, and a place would be a decent achievement on that evidence.
Read Kevin Morley's race-by-race guide to Tuesday's action in this week's Racing Post Weekender