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Manifesto Novices' Chase 2019
Thu, Apr 4th, 2019

Newmarket trainer Amy Murphy scored her first Grade One winner when 4/1 shot Kalashnikov, ridden by Jack Quinlan, won the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase 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's delight as Kalashnikov delivers him a first Grade 1

Jack Quinlan enjoyed a career-first G1 win when landing the Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase on his regular ride Kalashnikov, on whom he won last year's G3 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

There were a couple of minor frights for Kalashnikov, who had unseated Quinlan when badly hampered at the sixth fence in Cheltenham's Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase, but he was strong from the second last, where he had put down, and scored by a length and a quarter from favourite La Bague Au Roi.

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."

BAGUE "LACKING USUAL ZIP"

Warren Greatrex was magnanimous in defeat following 7/4 favourite La Bague Au Roi's second-placed finish to 4/1 shot Kalashnikov in the opening race of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase.

La Bague Au Roi made most of the running in the two mile and four furlong event, but was outbattled in the home straight by Kalashnikov, who scored by a length and a quarter and provided Amy Murphy with a first G1 success.

Greatrex said: "Richard Johnson just said she didn't run with her usual zip. From four out, he was trying to press on and when you usually do that she is away and gone. However, today Richard just felt he couldn't get her going. She was just a bit flat today.

"La Bague Au Roi has had an amazing season. She's won two G1s and a G2 in five starts, so we're delighted.

"Of course it is disappointing not to win today for the team and the owners, but credit must go to Amy and Kalashnikov - today is their day.

"I think her first target next season will be the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day."

Johnson commented: "La Bague Au Roi ran really well again and we can take nothing away from the winner who probably appreciated the step up in trip."

The Gordon Elliott-trained Mengli Khan (7/1) was a further length and three-quarters back in third. His jockey Jack Kennedy added: "Mengli Khan ran a cracker. He walked into the third last which took the stuffing out of him a little bit.

"He probably wouldn't have beat the winner, but he's run well."

1.45pm Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
1 Kalashnikov (Paul Murphy) Amy Murphy 6-11-04 Jack Quinlan 4/1
2 La Bague Au Roi (Mrs Julien Turner & Andrew Merriam) Warren Greatrex 8-10-11 Richard Johnson 7/4 fav
3 Mengli Khan (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-04 Jack Kennedy 7/1
6 ran
Distances: 1¼, 1¾
Tote Win: £4.80 Places: £2.20, £1.60 Exacta: £12.00

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