Horses To Follow » Knockara Beau

Knockara Beau

Knockara Beau put up a smart performance to beat Killyglen in a two-and-a-half-mile intermediate chase at Carlisle on Sunday. Close up behind Killyglen in the early stages of the race, he took it up off the Howard Johnson horse at half way. The pair of them had it between them from that point, but Knockara Beau always appeared to have the upper hand, and he began to surge ahead on the run to the second last. He jumped the last two fences well and was able to ease down on the run-in and still have seven lengths in hand of Killyglen, with that rival finishing 30 lengths clear of some useful rivals in Chief Dan George and Crocodiles Rock.

A couple of points here before we get too carried away. For starters, this two-and-a-half-mile trip would have been plenty short enough for Killyglen. Also, he was shouldering top weight of 11st 10lb, which would not have been easy given how much rain fell before the race and how testing the ground became as a result. Knockara Beau was receiving 16lb from Killyglen. That said, Killyglen was well fancied on his seasonal debut to win a race that the same trainer’s Tidal Bay won last year. He was backed down to odds-on, and AP McCoy thought enough of his chance to convince his boss to allow him get off Crocodiles Rock so that he could ride him. Moreover, Killyglen won his beginners’ chase on his seasonal debut over the same course and distance last season. He was a good novice last season, putting up his best performance when he won the Mildmay Chase at Aintree in April, but he had also recorded a facile win at Ayr on heavy ground in January.

Make no mistake, this was a good performance from the George Charlton-trained winner. A good staying novice hurdler last season (he was fifth in Mikael D’Haguenet’s Ballymore Properties Hurdle), he got off the mark over fences easily at his first attempt at Cartmel in May before he headed off for his summer break. He handles good ground as well as soft ground, he should come on for this, his seasonal debut, and he should be better when he steps up in distance again. His jumping was good, a little to his left, so he should be even better when he jumps fences on a left-handed track. He could take a high rank among the staying novice chasers this term, and he could be under-rated hailing from a small yard.

1st November 2009