Friday 17 November 2017

Drop down in class can help Kiyoshi find her way at Lingfield

Jamie Spencer riding Kiyoshi at Doncaster last September
Jamie Spencer riding Kiyoshi at Doncaster last September

Wayne Bailey

When sports journalists, pundits and punters talk about horses, almost all of the discourse is about the future, and what a certain animal might be capable of. And rightly so - we all want to spot the up-and-coming stars and hopefully make a few quid backing them as they rise through the ranks.

Can it tackle a longer distance? Has it improved over the winter? Will it handle a step up in class? These are the questions we ask when studying a race card, trying to find a winner. Having bought shares in a couple of horses in the past, I know that owners are usually keen to keep stepping up in class whenever possible. But the shrewder, more experienced owners and trainers take a realistic approach to their horse's ability and will readily drop their horse in class if things are not working out, rather than wasting time and money trying to land a big prize. This is often noteworthy.

Take Group Three Flat races, for example: most punters will look for a horse which has raced in a Listed contest recently and now looks like it could handle the step up in class. But to step up from Listed to Group Three is much easier said than done, and those that attempt it have a relatively low strike rate of 11pc.

Horses that raced at the same (Group Three) level last time out have a 12pc strike rate, and horses that are stepping down from Group Two have a marginally better strike rate of 13pc. Yet when a horse is stepping down two levels (from Group One to Group Three), there is a dramatic rise in their success rate to 17pc and there's no doubt that the experience of racing at the top level, even if it loses, can do a horse some good.

Kiyoshi is one that fits the bill in today's Group Three Chartwell Fillies' Stakes at Lingfield (4.05), and it's fair to say that the daughter of Dubawi was not disgraced when fifth of seven runners in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket last time. One of the horses that finished behind her was 1,000 Guineas winner Sky Lantern and although Kiyoshi looked a little out of her depth overall, she stuck to her task well in a good quality field.

Previously, she ran a blinder to win a 15-runner Group Three at Doncaster so she's proven at this level - although my main concern is the fact that she hasn't had a recent race, unlike most of the field.

She's also carrying a penalty for the Doncaster win but I don't think it's enough to hold her back and I'll be surprised if she doesn't go close today at 5/1.


The handicapper has left Big Baz on a mark of 99 for the Victoria Cup (3.45 Ascot) which seems lenient enough considering he's been upping his game since switching from the all-weather back to turf. At 14/1, he can be taken each-way.

Today's selections

2.55 Lingfield: Christophermarlowe

3.25 Haydock: Ballyglasheen (e/w)

3.45 Ascot: Big Baz (e/w)

4.05 Lingfield: Kiyoshi

4.10 Nottingham: Spinatrix

5.20 Gowran: Awesome Star

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