Horses To Follow » Act Of Kalanisi

Act Of Kalanisi

Act Of Kalanisi did really well to win the good two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Ascot on Saturday on his handicap debut, given that he raced far too freely early on. The fact that Lough Derg went a decent pace certainly helped, but Dr Richard Newland’s gelding was still racing freely going into Swinley Bottom, with the result that David Bass allowed him stride up on the outside of the leader. He actually took it up at the fourth last, and his rider sought to put a distance of ground between himself and his rivals when he asked him to stand way off the third last, but it was too far, and the horse did well to put in a short one and get to the other side without losing too much momentum. He made a much worse mistake when still just in front at the second last, and you would have easily forgiven him if he had capitulated at that stage, as he was challenged by Shalone on the near side and Busker Royal on the far side, but he didn’t. The manner in which he dug in and was back in a clear lead on the run to the last was impressive, and he stayed on just well enough to withstand the late lunge of On Borrowed Wings, who came from the next parish. This was a big performance from Act Of Kalanisi given how freely he raced. It was just his fourth run over hurdles, it was his best yet, and he is sure to progress further. A quadruple winner on the flat, he was not disgraced in taking on the best novice hurdlers in the Challow Hurdle and the Tolworth Hurdle, after beating Secret World in a good novice hurdle on his debut over obstacles, but he could be even better now in handicap hurdles, where the big fields and the fast pace play to his strengths as a free-going good traveller. This was a good handicap, and the winning time was a second faster than the time that fellow novice Sonofvic clocked in the opener, when he was pushed all the way by Tornado Bob, the pair of them coming clear.

This looks like Act Of Kalanisi’s optimum trip, a fast-run race over two and a half miles. He is in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Neptune, but he would be of even greater interest if he was geared towards one of the handicaps, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ race or the Coral Cup. In the former, David Bass (whose claim has now been reduced from 5lb to 3lb) could keep the ride. Also, he should be even better on better ground, his trainer almost took him out of Saturday’s race because he thought the ground was going to be too soft. He is only five, and he has significant scope for progression.

19th February 2011

© The Irish Field, 26th February 2011