Up 10lb for back-to-back defeats - but more to come....

Last Updated: 12.10.2021

Tuesday, 12th October 2021

Up 10lb for back-to-back defeats - but more to come….

With more luck in running, Kitty’s Light would have already landed a big Saturday afternoon handicap….

But for being impeded, the 5yo might have won the Badger Beers Silver Trophy at Wincanton last November….

And he might well have won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in the spring – had Potterman not interrupted his finishing effort….

He’s picked up decent money in eight chase appearances to date – but the big pot has eluded him….

No matter. The signs on Saturday were that this season will be the season….

  • Up in defeat.... 

Christian Williams’ gelding made his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow in the Native River Handicap Chase off a 168-day break….

That didn’t bother him. Nor did running off a career-high mark of 143….

He was beaten a head in a bobbing finish over the 3-mile trip – with the remainder of a good 13-runner field finishing 9+ lengths in arrears….

He conceded 10lb to the winner (with regular rider Jack Tudor claiming 3lbs) and – for extra credit – he emerged onto the scene from further back in the field than the winner, the 3rd, and the 4th....

The performance merited a new career-best RPR of 150. Which means he’s improved on the RPR scale for every single one of his races over fences –  +2, +9, +14, +7, +10, +2 + 5….

On the downside, Kitty’s Light has been reassessed by the official handicapper and put up 6lbs for Saturday’s effort – to a mark of 149….

Which means he’s gone up 10lb on the rating scale for a brace of performances that ended in defeat….

A hike in the ratings is the price you pay for success. But Kitty’s Light is bounding up the rating scale without having cashed-in a proper big win. That’s never an ideal scenario….

  • He’ll improve for proper staying trips.... 

The handicapper won’t quite know where he is with Kitty’s Light because the horse continues to progress….

I think he’ll work on the assumption that the horse is well-set go up the ratings again – I certainly don’t  imagine he expects the latest 6lb rise to stop the horse dead in its tracks….

Instead, I think he’ll see it more as a ‘stay-in-the-ballpark’ adjustment – an effort to stay in touch with an improving animal until additional evidence enables more informed (and maybe more accurate) judgments to be made….

By how far might he have under-estimated? Is he bang-on? Or might it be the case that he’s over-estimated?

Is this horse getting a fair shake?

On 149 is he creeping up the ladder to the point where winning becomes difficult – despite running most recently in defeat (albeit unluckily and not by far)….

These are questions worth considering….

  • My take….

Here’s my take….

Fair shake or not, Kitty’s Light is a young chaser improving run-to-run and 149 is merely the handicapper’s latest ‘on-the-hoof’ readjustment. He’s still playing catch-up….

This horse will win. He will go higher. He’ll improve into the 150s. That’s my belief….

And much of the improvement will be a result of stepping up in trip. The 5yo’s had just the one go at a trip beyond 3m2f – but he’ll be having more. Rely on that….

He’s a strong finisher over 3-miles – repeatedly producing his best work late on. But he’ll be better still over further….

The way he rattled home – as a mere 4yo – at Sandown over 3m5f suggests proper staying trips will prove his forte. The best is yet to come…

  • He’ll be running on softer….

Last season Kitty’s Light had been on the go all summer. This season the horse has been held back….

It’s inconceivable to me that he’s produced his best for the season before October is out – and I suspect connections will be gunning for a prize in this opening stanza of the season....

Last season, the primary target was the Gold Cup at Sandown. That might be the primary long-range aim again….

Kitty’s Light isn’t accustomed to seeing much action on the track in the section of the season that runs from the end of October to February….

He’s never run on anything worse than good to soft. And his very best efforts were produced on genuine good ground….

The suggestion is that the horse needs a decent surface. But Christian Williams sees it differently. In the aftermath of Saturday’s race he said this: ‘I wouldn't say good ground is essential to him.’

Time will tell. But you can expect Williams to run the horse in softer conditions – and maybe deeper into the year – than he has previously. That’s the message….

There’s been some talk of the Welsh National. But the horse is surely too young for that slog? As he’s a flat-bred horse – I wouldn’t expect him to relish deep mid-winter ground (at Chepstow or anywhere else)….

If Kitty’s Light were mine, I’d be having a crack at one or two big prizes in the coming weeks – and then giving the horse a break in readiness for spring targets….

  • The final word….

It was a cracking effort from Kitty’s Light first-time-up on Saturday – and he’s a dangerous player in the weeks ahead….

He was plenty fit on Saturday. He travelled nicely, jumped well, and showed plenty of dog in a thrilling fight to the line with the winner….

He’s a tough little horse who takes work well. He’s in the habit of holding his form. And he’s getting better with each run….

He’s one to be on the right side of this term….

That’s all for today. Back tomorrow. Meanwhile….

Anything to report? Anything to say? Anything to share? Contact me at: nick.pullen@oxonpress.co.uk

Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd