I was delighted to see Kiltealy Briggs deservedly get his head in front again over hurdles when defying a penalty to win at Kelso on Sunday. Having bolted up at Hexham earlier this season, he was then a good 3rd in the Grade 2 at Cheltenham’s December fixture. However, he has been pretty green and immature on both occasions, so we were keen to teach him how to race properly by slotting him in behind and looking to pass a horse in the run to the line. In doing this we’ve given the leader a 3 or 4 length head start in a 4 furlong dash on holding/heavy ground…..never an easy thing to do, but thankfully Briggs delivered and he will have learnt plenty in the process. He is an exciting horse for the future, but he deserves a crack at a better pot over hurdles first. So we will consider the Grade 2 at Haydock next, but he is also qualified for the EBF Final, and he wouldn’t look out of place in the Albert Bartlett either – so we have lots of options with him.
Kiltealy Briggs wins under a penalty.
Talking of Grade 2’s, I look forward to seeing Thebannerkingrebel in action in the Rossington Main on Saturday at Haydock. He won a listed novice at the track on his last start in November and we’ve been planning to come here since before heading to the Supreme Novice Hurdle at the Festival in March. He’s unbeaten over hurdles when he has completed, the only blip coming when he fell at the last with the race at his mercy under a double penalty. He was 2nd in the Grade 2 Aintree bumper last season, and has looked very talented. He’ll carry a 5lbs penalty here, which won’t be easy, but he’s in great shape and I look forward to the challenge.