Kitten To Rock Red Mills Trial Hurdle
Saturday’s Grade 2 Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park (3.20pm) provides a chance for some of Ireland’s “second-tier” hurdlers to thrown down their claims for Cheltenham next month, and one such runner is Kitten Rock.
Edward O’Grady’s 5yo may have fallen short in Grade 1 company when fourth at Punchestown last May, but has returned to win all three hurdle races since, including two Grade 3’s (both on soft).
The last of those came over 2m3f at Naas last month, but the switch back to 2m should be fine, especially if there is a strong gallop, and the fact he recorded a career best last time confirms he is still improving.
It’s also worth noting that Kitten Rock has won 71% of his career hurdle runs (5-7), which could be a good omen based on past renewals of this race…
Of the last Red Mills Trial Hurdle winners…
10 returned 8/1 or shorter
10 won 31% or more of their career hurdle runs
9 ran in a Graded/Listed race last time
9 raced during the last 60 days
8 were officially rated 147 or shorter
W Mullins won it 3 times from just 5 runners
The above trends also highlight that Willie Mullins enjoyed a good strike-rate in this race, winning it three times from just five runners, and has two entered for Saturday in Abbyssial and Analifet.
The former has not been seen this season, having won a Grade 1 at Punchestown in May, prior to flopping in France a month later. This 5yo is without doubt a classy performer, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what form he remains in, and the market may provide the biggest clue.
Analifet meanwhile, has been seen this season, disappointing twice before a better 3l third in a Grade 2 at Doncaster last month (2m, good to soft). The effort equaled the level of form this mare showed when winning a Grade 3 hurdle 14 months ago, and another step in the right direction from last time would see her involved.
Gordon Elliott also has a pair entered in Thunder Zone and Tiger Roll – the latter of course won last season’s Triumph Hurdle, but was outclassed in two Grade 1’s behind Hurricane Fly the last twice. A drop back to Grade 2 level will help, and he is another who is capable of winning if putting his best foot forward.
The remaining entries at this stage involve Arnaud, Is Herself About and Sailors Wren, though it will be a shock if any of that trio prove good enough.
A number of questions surround the form of these runners, including the Mullins pair, although Edward O’Grady’s, Kitten Rock, is the exception. A Grade 3 winner last month, he is an improving 5yo on a roll having won three on the spin, and may not have stopped yet.