It’s a New Year and so it is time for a new approach with the horse tracker. I’ve decided to share as many of my notes as possible on this blog, focussing on horses that I think are capable of winning races in the near future and providing my reasons why. We will start with a mare who caught my eye at Pau today.
Demoiselle Kap is trained in the UK by Sophie and Christian Leech, but with the exception of 1 run at Ludlow in early December, she has exclusively run in France. French Racing and in particular the softer conditions at Pau seem to suit her well. All of her best form has come in the South, including an impressive debut win over hurdles in December 2021 when she was trained by David Cottin for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. Since moving to the Leech yard and running in the colours of John Marriott she has more than paid her way, picking up the best part of €25,000 in prize money during 2023.
She is what she is, with an official rating of 51-kilos in France (101 in the UK) and she is firmly in the Class 4 bracket. However, this is her time of year, and she appears to be following a similar pattern to 2023, when she ran well on New Year’s Day at Cagnes-Sur-Mer before getting her head in front at Pau 2-weeks later. Roisin Leech has been on board for her 2 most recent starts and the pair seem to be building a good partnership, in fact, I would be confident enough to say that she travelled with far more zest today than she has in any of her recent starts in France. The form book will say that she finished 5th, beaten 6-lengths, but there are lots of reasons to be more positive about this run.
Firstly, she travelled nicely behind what turned out to be a relatively strong pace for the grade. There were 4 hurdles races on the card and with a final circuit time of 2:30.05, this race was the quickest over that part of the course. Having settled behind the early leaders, she was in 3rd place as they turned for home and briefly hit the front having jumped the second last. This was a patient ride by Roisin Leech, who allowed her mount to get into a nice rhythm and make her challenge in her own time. However, as they entered the home straight, she chose to keep her mount in the centre of the track as the closers came more towards the stands side rail. All of the hurdle’s races on the card were won by horses who came to the stands side rail, which appeared to be the better ground and I think it is significant that she was passed in the final 100-yards by horses who were on that better strip of turf. I don’t consider this to be a rider error, simply a decision made based on the horse’s position on the track, but having watched the closing stages several times, it is clear that it cost her a few lengths. Having jumped the last on terms, she ran from the back of the last to the line in 17.86s, 0.73s slower than the winner, Gilou Jaguen. He had been an unlucky loser at Angers before Christmas and certainly wasn't winning out of turn, whilst the placed horses brought solid form into the race from the North, so I think this can be trusted as a bare piece of form.
She peaked last January when landing a conditions hurdle at Pau on Heavy ground and she does appear to be in similar form 12-months later. The handicapper is likely to leave her mark alone on the back of this run and I think she is worth following next time, with her turn not too far away on this evidence.