Ferdy Murphy has issued an upbeat report about Kalahari King, his high class two-mile chaser who has year after year run with great credit in a series of top races in the division.
Murphy took the 10-year-old to Carlisle recently for a gallop after racing and couldn’t have been more pleased with the way last season’s Ryanair Chase runner-up shaped, leaving the Middleham handler with the definite impression that if anything, Kalahari King could be better than ever as he moves into the senior ranks. Murphy estimates that the 12-time winner will be ready to make his first appearance this term during October, with the Old Roan Chase at Aintree a possible target, although he also pencilled in a race at Kelso prior to the Aintree event, whilst the Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot may also be a possible first port of call. Those looking for a Grand National free bets offer will have to look elsewhere though.
The genial Irishman has made it clear that the main early target this term however for Kalahari King will be the Grade 2 Peterbrough Chase at Huntingdon, and doubtless all roads will lead back to the Cheltenham Festival in March, a meeting at which the Kahyasi gelding has a fine record. Fourth to the very smart Captain Cee Bee in the 2008 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the French-bred then ran the race of his life at the fixture 12 months later when beaten just a short-head by Forpadydeplasterer in a memorable finish to the Arkle Trophy, and in 2010 he ran a fine third to Big Zeb in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Even people following the Grand National betting would have taken an interest.
Last term Kalahari King once again excelled at the Prestbury track, staying on well over the extended trip of two-miles-five-furlongs to beaten just a length by the highly talented Albertas Run in the Ryanair Chase. If ever a horse deserved a Cheltenham Festival win it must be Murphy’s stable star, and if his handler is right the 2012 fixture might just see that dream come true.