Horses To Follow » Calico


Calico faded to finish fourth in the end in the two-mile-three-furlong handicap hurdle at Haydock on Saturday, but he ran better than the bare form of the run suggests, over a trip that probably stretched his stamina. Weak in the market beforehand, he travelled well through his race up on the outside of the leader Wicked West, who set a good pace in front. His jumping was good, and he and Wicked West moved on from their field at the top of the home straight, but Calico jumped the third last flight well, which took him into a three-length lead. Tommy’s Oscar joined him over the second last flight, and he weakened from there, as Thibault and Our Surprise got past him, and he just kept on from there to finish fourth.

It was a pleasing run from Dan Skelton’s horse, he is only five, and this was just his sixth run over hurdles. Also, it was his second run of the season, his second since a wind operation and his first in a tongue-tie. A three-time winner over a mile and a half on the flat in Germany, and placed in a listed race over a mile and six furlong and fourth in the German St Leger, he won twice as a novice hurdler for Dan Skelton last spring, and he remains an interesting recruit. Even though he was a stayer on the flat in Germany, it may be that a drop back to two miles over hurdles will be the thing for him. He can operate on good ground and on heavy ground, and the fact that the handicapper dropped him by 3lb to a mark of 133 makes him very interestingly handicapped now, ideally in a good two-mile handicap hurdle.
Haydock, 20th November 2021