Horses To Follow » Karatash


Karatash should be worth following now after making a winning debut for John Oxx in the three-year-old maiden over a mile and a quarter at Navan on Sunday. He bounced out of the stalls fairly well and Johnny Murtagh adopted quite a prominent position in fourth place. He travelled well through the race, he was going nicely around the turn into the home straight, and he picked up well when Murtagh really asked him to with a quarter of a mile to run. He and the potentially useful Spirit Of Concorde drew clear of the rest of the field with a furlong to run, and Karatash stayed on all the way to the line, pulling three and a quarter lengths clear of the Dermot Weld-trained colt through the final furlong.

There were several significant things about this performance. Firstly, John Oxx had won this race last year with Zanughan, who started second favourite behind Recital for the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial on his next run. Secondly, Karatash was Oxx’s only representative here, and while that may not seem overly significant, he ran three horses in the race last year, and on the Sunday before this he had run five horses in a similar race at The Curragh, citing the lack of opportunities on turf for three-year-old maidens as the primary reason. Thirdly, Karatash was really well backed, 9/2 into 10/3 on course.

Karatash is by Halling out of Karawana, whom Oxx trained a few years ago to win over a mile and a mile and a quarter (she stayed a mile and a half too) and was rated in the mid 90s after her one season of racing. The evidence suggests that Karatash could be useful.

He should have learned a lot from this first visit to the racecourse, and he may well improve over a mile and a half later in the season. He is not in either the Epsom or the Irish Derby, but he does have an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot which suggests that he is probably a late developer, and that he has probably been working well at home this spring. He is interesting.

29th April 2012