Horses To Follow » Killiney Court
Killiney Court put up a nice performance to win the two-and-a-quarter-mile novices’ chase at Galway on Sunday. Sent into the lead from flagfall by Mikey Fogarty, he was immediately chased by favourite Just Cause, and the pair of them quickly opened up a significant gap between themselves and the rest of the field.
Henry de Bromhead’s horse jumped well for Fogarty, and he settled into a lovely rhythm in front. He stood well off the fourth last, the open ditch, and the third last, and travelled well down the hill, but Just Cause responded well to Mark Enright’s urgings and joined him at the second last. The pair of them jumped the last together too but, once his rider asked him to pick up as they started up the hill around the home turn, Killiney Court duly did so. Two lengths clear as they started around the home turn, he was five lengths clear by the time they straightened up, and he came further clear up the hill before being eased down close home.
There was a lot to like about this performance from the King’s Theatre gelding. He jumped well, he travelled well, and he picked up nicely around the home turn to come away from a talented individual. The runner-up was a good novice hurdler and he had shaped promisingly on his chasing debut behind Lieutenant Colonel at Gowran Park in early October. Also, the winning time was good, the fastest comparative time on the day by a fair way and just 0.06secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par. Killiney Court is not especially lightly-raced, he has run 20 times in total, but this was just his second run for Henry de Bromhead, it was his second win, and Timeform ratings say that his two runs for his new trainer are the two best runs of his life. As well as that, he is only seven and this was just his fifth chase, so he has lots of scope for progression over fences. The handicapper raised him 7lb to a mark of 131, but a hike of that magnitude was merited.
He has had a busy summer, and his trainer spoke afterwards about giving him a break now and bringing him back in the spring. That makes sense, given how good he is on good ground. He could be a horse for some of the big handicap chases in the spring, the Grand Annual at Cheltenham or the Red Rum Chase at Aintree, but he is still a novice, so he has lots of options. The Close Brothers’ Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is another option, although he would probably need to land on a British mark of somewhere between 137 and 140 to get into that.
30th October 2016