Horses To Follow » Kitten Rock

Kitten Rock

Kitten Rock put up another really likeable display in winning the listed two-mile four-year-old hurdle at Limerick on Sunday. Always travelling well for Mark Walsh, he eased to the front at the fifth last hurdle, and cantered along in front until the home turn. Max Dynamite got close to him at that point but, as soon as his rider gave him a squeeze, Kitten Rock picked up nicely. He jumped the last two obstacles well and won, eased down, by 14 lengths.

Everything about this performance from the Edward O’Grady-trained gelding was impressive. He jumped well, he travelled well, he picked up nicely when asked, he came right away from a useful rival, and he clocked a good time, almost bang on Racing Post par, despite the fact that he was eased down close home. He was a good juvenile hurdler last season, he was only beaten a head by Ivan Grozny in the Grade 3 juveniles’ contest at the Fairyhouse Easter meeting, and he finished fourth in the Grade 1 contest at Punchestown, when he had Tiger Roll and Guitar Pete and Kentucky Hyden behind him.

It appears that the Laverock gelding has improved again this season, however. He was impressive in winning on his seasonal return at Naas, and this was probably another step forward. His trainer says that he will be even better over fences, but he could be a high-class second-season hurdler in the meantime. It is always difficult for last year’s juveniles when they take on their elders in open competition, but it may be that JP McManus’ horse could win a big handicap now off his current rating of 148. The Betfair Hurdle or the County Hurdle would be legitimate targets. He has just turned five, and Sunday’s race was just his sixth over hurdles, so he has lots of scope to progress again.

28th December 2014