Horses To Follow » Calipto


Calipto got his chasing career off to a nice start when he landed the two-mile-three-furlong beginners’ chase at Fontwell on Wednesday.

Settled nicely by Sam Twiston-Davies through the early stages of the race, his jumping was good for a debutant. He was in tight to a couple of fences down the home straight first time, but he was clever at them, and he popped them nicely. Down the back straight final time, he stood off the last two fences and pinged them, making a good shape over his fences. He was again safe up the home straight and, after jumping the last fence upsides Wadswick Court, he cleared away nicely to win readily.

It was a good performance from Paul Nicholls’ horse. Indeed, you could hardly have hoped for a more satisfactory performance on his first run over fences. The runner-up is rated 131 over hurdles, and he was solid in the market here on his seasonal debut, and Calipto beat him well.

Calipto was entitled to win this, he is rated 139 over hurdles, so just 7lb higher than the runner-up, but he won with plenty in hand, and the performance gave credence to the notion that he never quite fulfilled his potential over hurdles. He was one of the best juvenile hurdlers of the 2013/14 season, his riders’ leather broke when he was travelling well and favourite for the 2014 Triumph Hurdle and he still finished fourth. He didn’t quite go on as you might have expected last season, he didn’t win, but he ran well to finish fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February off a mark of 143.

Hurdlers can often struggle during their four-going-five-year-old season, and Calipto should be able to progress now as a chaser. He went particularly well over hurdles at Newbury, and he appears to jump fences well, so he will be of interest now returned to Newbury over fences. Paul Nicholls won this Fontwell race in the last two years with good horses Virak and Black Thunder, and Calipto should be able to step forward now. It would not be surprising if he was able to reach a higher level over fences than he reached over hurdles.

21st October 2015