Amy Murphy ready to rock at Cheltenham with Kalashnikov leading her Supreme challenge

Amy Murphy is multi-tasking – chocolate hobnob in one hand and mobile phone in another, ­making sure her entries are up to date.

“Where do you hope to take this?” comes the question, which ­momentarily stops her mid-flow.

She looks up, fixes her inquisitor with a solid stare and replies: “To go as far as I can – and be as big as I can be.”

Murphy, aged just 24, does not lack ambition. The fact that she is making a good fist of the label of being the youngest trainer in Britain may be rammed home this week.

Kalashnikov is heavily fancied to kick off the Festival next Tuesday in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Stablemate Mercian Prince runs in the Brown Advisory Plate on Thursday.

Both have more than a puncher’s shot.

And if either succeeds, it will cap a hugely encouraging start for Murphy’s ­operation, which has recorded 27 ­victories so far in its first year of ­operation.

Kalashnikov wins the Betfair Hurdle Race at Newbury
(Image: Getty Images Europe)
The horse has shown its class already
(Image: PA)

Of course, she has the right ­credentials.

Her bloodline is ­impeccable, being the daughter of ­acclaimed trainer Paul. But if there has been a silver spoon, it is tucked away, out of sight. Murphy Jnr has put in the hard yards.

What turned out to be work experience, trailing Luca Cumani and Nicky Henderson – allied to a career as a jockey in her own right and her ­family background – has given her a unique insight.

Nicky Henderson
(Image: PA Wire)

She takes another question – this time about what this piece would say if she wrote it herself.

“That we are young, ambitious – and that we are going places,” she said. “But I don’t want to sound arrogant – I’d hate that.

“Look, we are trying to grow. And sometimes, being young, you have to prove yourself a little more than others would. Hopefully, we will do that.

“I’m not messing about – I’m not doing this as a hobby. If you’re doing it as a hobby, you’d be happy with three or four horses.

“I’m committed to employing the best people I can. I want to be the best myself. I live, eat, breathe and sleep this job. You won’t find me shopping in Cambridge on Saturday afternoon, that’s for sure. And I try not to set goals because I do not like failure.

“We train 30 horses at the moment. The aim is to get more and bring new owners in too – for the business to get off the ground and pay for itself.

“If we could be a ­56-horse yard, I would be delighted. I’m very hands-on and I want to keep that. I wouldn’t be turning horses away that’s for sure.”

Amy Murphy with Kalashnikov at Hamilton Stables
(Image: Sonja Horsman)

But why should any owner ­entrust the well-being of a relatively costly ­investment with someone so young?

Murphy said: “Is it about marginal gains? I think so. Our strapline is ‘Striving for success’ and that’s what we are doing. We try to evolve. Even simple things, such as videoing weekly reports to the owners. And we turn-out every day in the paddocks. Not many ­racehorses do that.

“A lot of them are boxed up for 23 hours a day. But turn-out is something I very much believe in and it has worked for us so far.That free time allows them to be horses.

“Yes, they might be animals worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, but I actually believe it’s important that they socialise rather than keeping them looking at four walls each and every day.

Amy Murphy is hoping for big success – both this week and in the future
(Image: Sonja Horsman)

“We have done well improving horses from other trainers. We don’t do anything markedly ­different, but they will be fresher, happy and healthy.

“It’s trying to eke every bit of ­improvement out of them. We are not a big stable, so we can give the horses individual treatment. They are not all trained in exactly the same way. We can give a new lease of life to a horse.

“If any particular individual is ­happier being trained on their own, instead of being in a group, then they will be. We have the flexibility to do that. It’s having the time to work out and get ­inside those horses’ heads to get that ­improvement out of them.”

Can Kalashnikov claim victory?
(Image: Sonja Horsman)

And what of Kalashnikov?

“I’ve ridden him since day one,” she said. “I’m fortunate he’s turned into a good horse. He’s a chaser in the making. He’s a big, strong powerful horse and he will go novice chasing next year.

“But as for next week… honestly? In that race, I wouldn’t want to be on anything else.”

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.