Horses To Follow » Kirthill


A finishing position of ninth in the Class 2 Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury on Saturday does not do Kirthill justice as he had very little room on the inside against the rail and was badly impeded twice in the home straight. He was well back on the rail from a low draw, no better than 13th or 14th down the side of the course and travelling a little keenly. Fallon started to get to work on him as they levelled for home, asking him for his effort and the horse started to improve against the rail when he was first impeded by Leviathan. Kieren Fallon had to sit up on him for a few strides before trying to move off the rail, he picked up well when switched around Leviathan, and he was moving towards the leaders when he was cut off for a second time, this time by Resurge as that one moved down towards the inside looking for a way through. In reality, the first hampering probably ended Kirthill’s chances of winning this race but the second one, a worse one, when Fallon had to rein back severely, ended all chance he had of reaching the frame. That left him back in 12th as they passed the furlong pole and he stayed on under just a hand ride to finish ninth.

This was a race run at a strong pace and the first four home were just about the last four as the field turned for home. They all made their ground down the outside, with the exception of Master Of Arts, who had to weave between horses, and Taqleed and Naqshabban both built up momentum from the back to come and charge past their rivals inside the final furlong. Kirthill was well back too, but he was hard up against the inside rail and among traffic, which was severely detrimental in a race in which momentum was key.

Kirthill remains interesting after this, he had finished second to Dare To Dance at Newmarket on his previous run, and, even though that race hasn’t worked out that well, the winner is favourite for the Cambridgeshire now. It is probably significant that Fallon chose to ride him here rather than the runner-up Naqshabban, his stable companion, in a race that Luca Cumani had won three times in the previous four years and four times in the previous seven. Kirthill was well-backed for this and deserves another chance to build upon the impression he has created several times this year now. He is still only three, this was just the seventh start of his life, and he still has the potential to be better than his rating of 94.

17th September 2011