I haven’t been particularly inspired by the form at Pau so far this winter. As you may know, I really try to avoid getting involved in races on Heavy ground and the early results at Pau in December and January have only strengthened that conviction. A few winners at fancy prices in the early meetings is always to be expected with many horses being specifically targeted at the Pau season, but it has carried on as the meeting has progressed and there have been quite a few winners that I would not have found with 10-selections in a race. However, we are getting closer to the big card at the end of the month and on Friday, for the first time, I saw a horse who put in a performance that was worthy of more attention.
Kolokico is a 4-year-old AQPS trained by Emmanuel Clayeux with a decent pedigree. His Grand-Dam was a smart mare who reached a peak rating of 70-kilos, and she produced Tom George’s Grand National 3rd, Saint Are, amongst others. He began his life in a pair of AQPS Flat races at Moulins last summer, finishing 3rd on both occasions and chasing home Kandy Park and Karina Sween. The former is now a multiple winner over hurdlers rated 68-kilos and the latter went on to place in a Grade 3 on her next start and she was 6th in the Grade 1 Prix Jacques de Vienne at Fontainebleau in November. A promising start.
He finished 3rd on his hurdles debut in the Prix Isopani at Auteuil in October, chasing home Kandy Park once again and the form of that race has worked out reasonably well, but it is his latest start at Pau last Friday that made him stand out. Considering his pedigree, it is no surprise that he has been sent Chasing so early in his career and he definitely found improvement for the switch to fences, but there was more to it than that. Under a prominent ride from Felix de Giles, he took up the running as they turned for home and quickened clear with ease, despite the heavy ground, to win by 4-lengths. The horses that chased him home (Kaolin and Kahid de Fregande) both had decent form in AQPS Flat races, but they simply couldn’t live with the speed that he showed between the last 2 jumps. On the day, we only have a Claiming Chase to compare him to, but he was 8-seconds quicker than the winner of that contest over the final circuit and from the 2nd last to the line, when he was visually so impressive, he was 4-seconds quicker, so we can say that the clock backed up my initial impression that this was a superb performance. In fact, his final circuit time of 02:16.62. is the second fastest run at Pau so far this season (from a sample of 29 races), a remarkable effort on what was just his 4th start and his debut over fences.
He does hold an entry over hurdles on 25th January, but I would be surprised to see him take that up as Chasing looks a much more likely route for him now. His connections may choose to find another race at Pau, but after this performance, they may look to raise their sights a bit higher and I look forwards to seeing how much more improvement he can find.