Horses To Follow » Kernoff


Kernoff did really well to finish as close as he did in the opening six-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Sunday.

The high-drawn horses, those drawn towards the stands side, are usually favoured on the sprint track at The Curragh when the track is at its widest, so Michael Halford’s horse faced a tough task from stall four of 20. Slowly away, he was allowed drop back through the field in the early stages of the race. Stone last of the 20 runners passing the two-furlong pole, he finished well, best of all of those who raced on the far side, to get up for sixth place, doing best by far of those horses who raced over there.

The Excellent Art gelding was progressive early on this year, the early part of his season building up to a good win in a decent five-furlong handicap at The Curragh on Irish Derby weekend. He had been disappointing on his two most recent efforts before Sunday, however, failing to fire on both occasions. With blinkers replacing the cheekpieces that he wore in those two races, and for his win on Derby weekend, Sunday’s run was much more like it, and he will be interesting next time with the blinkers retained.

He is only three, so he still has plenty of potential for progression as a sprinter. He is at his best when held up off a fast pace in a big-field handicap, and he is probably a little more effective over five furlongs than over six. The fast early pace that they go over the minimum trip invariably suits his style of racing, despite the fact that he can also finish well over six. He has run well on easy ground in the past, and he does go on Polytrack, but he is probably at his best on fast ground. The merit of Sunday’s run may be overlooked by many, and he may be a little under-rated now. He could be at least a little better than a handicap mark of 95 suggests.

14th September 2014