Former Hartpury College student Amy Murphy failed by only a whisker to win the opening race of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival – with her first-ever runner at the showpiece meeting.
Stable star Kalashnikov, owned by Amy’s father Paul, finished a close runner-up under jockey Jack Quinlan in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
After jumping the last hurdle in the lead, Kalashnikov was headed just yards from the winning post by Summerville Boy, who beat him by just a neck.
“I'm so proud of Kalashnikov,” said Amy, who gained a triple distinction – the highest grades possible – in the Level Three Extended Diploma in Horse Management at Hartpury.
“He travelled brilliantly throughout and he went through the ground as well.
"The hill can find plenty of horses out and he just tired up the hill. He winged the last and I was hoping that he would hold on, but Summerville Boy is a good horse, so we're happy to just finish second in a Grade One.
"He's been a superstar this season and I'm absolutely delighted with how things have gone and his performance today.
"He's a really exciting horse and that will be his final run of the year. He'll be an exciting horse for next season.
"We'll definitely go chasing next season and we're looking forward to that."
Amy, whose stables are in Newmarket, has a second chance of gaining her first Cheltenham Festival winner when Mercian Prince runs in Thursday’s Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.
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