Horses To Follow » Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court

It was always likely that there was going to be a slow early pace in the two-and-a-half-mile novices’ chase at Cheltenham on Saturday, given that none of the four runners like to lead, but the sedate gallop that transpired was even slower than you could have feared. It didn’t suit any of them really, but it wasn’t ideal for Kangaroo Court, a horse with a high cruising speed who stays two and a half miles well. Even so, the Lahib gelding’s jumping impressed. He measured up his fences well in the early stages, made ground on his rivals in the air and then had to be reined back by Jack Doyle on landing to prevent him pulling his way to the front. He was actually relegated to last place on the run down the hill when Red Admiral moved up on his outside, but his jumping over the third last and second last when the pace was increasing was good as well, and Doyle remained unperturbed. He allowed Kangaroo Court move up easily on the inside, round the home turn on the inside of Presentandcorrect, and then he asked him to pick up over the last and up the hill, which he duly did, showing an impressive turn of foot to come clear on the run-in.

Emma Lavelle’s gelding was a really exciting novice hurdler last season. An impressive winner at Doncaster in December, he was sent off favourite to beat Karabak in a two-and-a-half-mile contest at Ascot in January, but the good to soft ground didn’t suit him at all that day, and he could only finish a well-beaten second. He went straight to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle from there, and disappointed behind Go Native, but he got back on track on his last run of the season at Lingfield. It wasn’t that hot a contest, but he still did it well. We didn’t see him again until he made his chasing debut at Uttoxeter last month, when he jumped well and won well, albeit that it was a weak contest. This was a big step up on that, he jumped the Cheltenham fences well and he seemed at home on the undulations. He is only five, this was just his eighth ever run, and it is reasonable to expect significant improvement from this, just his second run over fences. He does need good ground, but he belongs in the top grade of novice chasers when he has it.

17th October, 2009