Horses To Follow » Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty

The Leonard Whitmore-trained Hello Kitty ran a fine race to finish second to Moskova in the Grade 3 mares’ chase at Clonmel on Wednesday. Settled towards the outside just behind the leaders in the early stages, she jumped really well and made nice progress down the far side. Another good jump at what had become the last fence on the far side (the actual last had to be omitted), the third last overall, took her into the lead, and she made the best of her way home from there. Favourite Moskova had made a fairly bad mistake at the fourth last in behind, with the result that Hello Kitty and Here Comes Sally were the only two who were still travelling turning for home, but soon it became apparent that Hello Kitty was travelling better, and she kicked on over the second last and looked like the most likely winner at that stage. However, although she was two lengths up jumping that obstacle, she hadn’t put a race-winning distance of ground between herself and her pursuers. Moskova began to stay on in the home straight under a relentless Ruby Walsh, and she got up inside the final 50 yards on slow-motion ground to just deprive Hello Kitty of her second win over fences.

The first three home should all be worth following. Moskova did remarkably well to recover from her mistake at the fourth last and pull an unlikely victory out of the bag, and Here Comes Sally was only beaten a neck for second, and may have been even closer had her rider not lost his whip on the run-in. Furthermore, the time of the race was less than a second slower than the time the Watson Lake clocked in winning the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase, all out, over the same course and distance a half an hour earlier, and almost four second faster than the time that Footy Facts clocked in winning the handicap chase later. However, it was the runner-up who was the one to take out of the race for me. She was in front from a long way out on the energy-sapping ground, the omission of the last in the back straight was no help whatsoever and she can be forgiven for getting tired on the run-in. The winner Moskova is rated 31lb her superior, yet was conceding just 12lb on the day, and she only beat her by a half a length.

This was just Hello Kitty’s third ever chase, she jumped well and travelled like the most likely winner for most of the way, and she should come on again for the run. She obviously handles this heavy ground well – she won her maiden hurdle at Clonmel as well on heavy ground – but it was fast ground when she won her beginners’ chase at Downpatrick in September, she is obviously adaptable, and this two-and-a-half-mile trip is probably her optimum. There is a mares’ chase at Cork on Hilly Way Chase day, which is a likely target, but the Grade 3 contest run over two and a half miles at Thurles in late January should be even more suitable. She will be of interest wherever she goes next.

18th November 2009

© The Irish Field, 21st November 2009