Horses To Follow » Killala Quay

Killala Quay

Killala Quay put up a nice performance to win the Grade 2 two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle at Sandown last Friday. There were only five runners in the race, but the top four in the market had won nine of their previous 10 races over hurdles. The only defeat in those 10 races was Killala Quay’s, who was making progress when he was badly hampered at the second last flight in the big 20-runner David Johnson Memorial Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham’s November meeting on his previous run. Because of that defeat, he was probably under-rated in the market for Friday’s race, no better than fourth best behind Saint Roque, Beat That and Oscar Fortune.

Settled in fourth of the five runners, up on the outside of third-placed Beat That, Charlie Longsdon’s horse travelled well for Richard Johnson and jumped accurately. Johnson switched him to the inside at the top of the home straight on the approach to the second last flight, but a mistake at that obstacle looked to have ended his chance of winning. However, switched back to the stands side, he re-gathered his momentum, jumped the final flight back upsides Beat That, who made a mistake, and powered clear up the run-in to win by over two lengths. Beat That’s mistake at the last obviously didn’t help him, but the general consensus afterwards appeared to be that he would have won without that error, and it may not be as definitive as that. Killala Quay may be under-rated as a result.

This race is usually a really good pointer to the future, having been won in the past by such luminaries as Inglis Drever and Neptune Collonges. Also, Fingal Bay beat Simonsig in the race in 2011, while Taquin Du Seuil won the 2012 renewal. Killala Quay is obviously going to have to progress significantly again if he is to match the achievement of any of those horses, but he has a nicely progressive profile now, and there was a lot to like about the willing attitude that he displayed here. This was just his fourth run over hurdles, he had won his first two before that Cheltenham race by an aggregate of 16 lengths, and he can progress again now. He saw out this two and a half miles well on deadish ground, he could be even better on genuinely soft ground, and he should continue to progress. He is interesting.

6th December 2013