Kitty's Light to offer more in the spring?: Andy Gibson reflects

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Kitty's Light finally came good in the Eider Chase at Newcastle on Saturday, prompting racing analyst Andy Gibson to take a closer look at the seven-year-old's recent performances and future prospects.

Connections of Kitty's Light have been very patient with his progress over this last season and he was able to compete in the Eider Chase off a mark of 132 as a consequence. His new rating of 140 is still well below the mark he competed in the 2022 renewal of the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and he remains of real interest for that spring target. He is best when not competing on winter soft ground, so he is always likely to gradually work his way down the ratings before returning to form in the spring. In the Eider Chase at Newcastle, I felt he won despite the conditions rather than because of them.

I prepare diary notes for subscribers to my service and I thought it would be interesting to consider Kitty's Light's profile via my reflective notes for each of his six racecourse appearances this season.

I look forward to a very positive performance from Kitty's Light at Sandown in April, assuming he is able to compete on his ideal ground.

Eider Handicap Chase

  • 25th February 2023 - Newcastle

After making many mistakes, some of them serious errors, and after not travelling well for much of the race, Kitty's Light eventually flew home in the home straight to win with something in hand. The ground looked rough which would not have suited him, and he could not have jumped much worse if he had tried so he has probably got an awful lot in hand of the handicapper. He will be raised around six pounds for this success, and it will not be his new rating that will be the variable to get him beaten next time out. Last season he came third in the Bet365 Gold Cup whilst competing off 145 and he was only just beaten in the 2021 renewal off a mark of 139. In April 2023 he will be competing off around 138 and will have every chance of being competitive. ( He has been raised to 140)

Coral Racing Club Handicap Chase

  • 14th January 2023 - Kempton

When a horse has not been competitive over a prolonged period of time, it is always encouraging to see an encouraging effort, especially when the horse in question should still get dropped another couple of pounds. In that sense we got the best of both worlds here as the extra-long lead of the winner turning in allowed Jack Tudor the luxury of asking his horse for an extra effort, and he responded to stay on nicely, albeit past very little that ran a race. This 20-length defeat should see him return to the course off about 133 in late February, assuming the race over this course and distance which he ran so well in last season is his first target. I suspect the state of the ground on that day may determine how competitive he will be back here in five weeks' time.

Ladbrokes Football Handicap Chase

  • 27th December 2022 - Kempton

This was another helpful performance on his way to a spring campaign. Last season he finished fourth in this race and ran down the field back here in mid-January before doing his best in what was the Racing Post Chase over this course and distance in late February. If the ground is soft here in two weeks' time and he finishes down the field again he will be rated below 135 by late February which would be well below the 140 he competed off in that race last year. It will be interesting to see if he is a runner on that day or whether his connections choose to wait for Ayr and Sandown in the springtime. Of course, just because I believe he has not been busy of late does not make me right and even if I am correct in my assumptions, it also does not guarantee that the horse has retained his ability levels. That said, he does seem worth keeping a quiet eye on in the coming weeks.

Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase

  • 26th November 2022 - Newbury

This entry was about getting him dropped again on his way to a spring campaign. It worked as he is now 137 from 140 and he could compete at Ayr and Sandown on much more favourable terms compared with 2021.

London Gold Cup Handicap Chase

  • 29th October 2022 - Ascot

In the last two seasons Kitty's Light has shown improved form in the springtime. He has already been dropped four pounds on the back of two well-beaten finishes this season. It will be interesting to see if his trainer runs him on unsuitable soft ground through the winter with an eye on his spring campaign.

Native River Handicap Chase

  • 8th October 2022 - Chepstow

The commentator came out with a very apt phrase at the sixth-last fence when he stated that the two Christian Williams-trained horses were 'minding their own business' when still racing at the back of the field. The pair of them were clearly not busy today. Kitty's Light was very consistent at the back end of last season and if he could begin a similar spring campaign off a mark below 140 it would be to his advantage. He generally struggles on soft ground so it will be interesting to see if they have a go with him prior to the middle of winter before the ground softens. Many of my 'eyecatcher' horses are short-term projects with some expectation of witnessing an improved performance sooner rather than later.In the case of Kitty's Light, he became a 'longer term eyecatcher' from his first run of the season. As stated above, I look forward to a very positive performance from Kitty's Light at Sandown in April, assuming he is able to compete on his ideal ground.

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