Horses To Follow » Kalane


Kalane put up a taking performance to win the Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury on Saturday.

Relatively weak in the market, Charlie Longsdon’s mare settled well in rear through the early stages of the race for Noel Fehily. Stone last of the 17 runners at the top of the back straight, she made mistakes at the first two flights down the far side, and she wasn’t overly fluent at the third. Even so, she still travelled well out of the back straight, and across the top of the track, and she picked up on landing over the third last flight. She made such rapid headway that she actually picked up at the second last flight in the front rank.

Although others – most notably Hannah’s Princess – were travelling better than her at that point, she continued to surge forward. She and Hannah’s Princess jumped the last together, but Kalane was the stronger on the long run-in, and she powered away to win by over three lengths, with another three lengths back to the third horse.

This was a good performance from Kalane in what may prove to be a really good mares’ race. Runner-up Hannah’s Princess had a nice progressive profile going into the race, and she bounced off the good ground, while third-placed Spartan Angel had strong form during the winter, goes well on good ground, and had probably been aimed at the race from a long way out by Nicky Henderson, who has an exemplary record in it.

Kalane herself is obviously even more interesting now than she was before Saturday. She had run just three times in her life beforehand. On her penultimate run before Saturday, she had beaten Monbeg Theatre, who won his next two races and is now rated 130, while on her last run before Saturday she had finished third behind two high-class novices, Native River, who was good enough to run in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, and Emerging Talent, who was upsides L’Ami Serge at the second last flight in the Kennel Gate Hurdle when he fell. Her form is rock solid.

The handicapper has raised the Kalanisi mare by 9lb for this, but her new mark of 129 could still under-estimate her ability by a fair way. She is only six, she is really lightly-raced, and she posted a career-best on Saturday. Also, she was probably helped by the step up in trip from two miles to two miles and five furlongs, as a daughter of Kalanisi out of a full-sister to Kicking King. She could improve again for a step up to three miles on this evidence. She seems to love this goodish ground, and she will be of interest wherever she goes next.

21st March 2015