Horses To Follow » Carlito Brigante

Carlito Brigante

Carlito Brigante was an impressive wide-margin winner of the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last month and ran another cracker upped to Grade 1 class and three miles in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree last week. He was travelling as well as the front two (Big Buck’s and Grand Crus) turning for home whilst the rest, including very good horses like Khyber Kim, were off the bridle, before his stamina gave out.

Five-year-olds really struggle in the big staying hurdles, the World Hurdle, the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown and the Pertemps Final, as well as this race, they just don’t seem to have the maturity to see out three miles at this stage of their career. No five-year-old has ever won the World Hurdle and only one has won the Punchestown race. Accordingly, Carlito Brigante should not be written off as a non-stayer at three miles next year after he has strengthened up with another summer on his back. He was a very good juvenile over hurdles last season, and good juveniles often turn out to be good stayers, particularly those who run well in the Triumph (he was fourth in the Triumph last year as favourite) as they have to see out the two miles strongly in races like that due to the frenetic pace they go from the start. (The only five-year-old to win the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown was a Triumph winner the year before).

Davy Russell rode him as if there were no stamina doubts in the Coral Cup at the head of the main group chasing the two who were clear (he had, after all folded quite tamely on his only previous run over a distance in excess of two miles) and he again rode him here like a good horse here with no stamina limitations at the trip. A wind operation over Christmas has clearly helped Gordon Elliott’s gelding, but perhaps more important to him is this good ground, he is a much better horse on a sound surface.

This was probably another career-best from Carlito Brigante after his smooth Cheltenham win, and he is a horse to look forward to for next year, probably over two and a half initially, as he clearly doesn’t lack pace for that trip, before stepping up to three, but probably avoiding Big Buck’s. He is a young horse who could play a leading role in the staying hurdling division when Big Buck’s starts to regress, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him jump a fence in time.

7th April 2011