Kodicat Strikes Late For First Win

Kodiac is arguably the sire to have on your side when you are looking for early, sharp and quality 2 year olds. They can come in all shapes and sizes but his record speaks for itself and every year the winners prove this. Kodicat showed plenty of promise in her juvenile season but she had to wait to shed her maiden tag. It was worth waiting for as she produced a fine display when sprinting home to take the 5f Follow On Twitter @catterickraces Handicap at Catterick. 

Grove Stud is a nursery that has led the way in producing top quality Breeze Up horses and it was last year that Kodicat caught the eye of Kevin and Steve Hillen. Well bred and a quick breeze was enough to bring the filly to Hambleton Lodge and things were looking very promising from her first piece of work. Royal Ascot was immediately thought of with Kodicat showing plenty at home. 

Unfortunately the plan did not work out as expected. On debut she ran very well, finishing 3rd and showing plenty of speed and professionalism. With a run full of promise behind her, Kodicat then went on to Haydock, taking a step up to 6f. Again she showed good early speed, really laying it down to her rivals before weakening late on to finish fifth. That was another solid performance as the winner was none other than Fair Eva, who is now a leading fancy for this years 1000 Guineas. 

Following her two efforts Kevin just felt that the filly was not quite seeing out her races, an obvious sign of weakness in youngsters. Deciding to give her a break, it was thought that Kodicat should be set for a campaign in the Autumn which could give her the time to strengthen and grow. This she did and Kodicat returned with a couple of good efforts in a pair of York maidens. Although she had run well all season it seemed as though she was still not mature enough to fully justify herself. Connections understood and kept the faith going into the winter break. 

Again this year her work has been good and she came to hand very early. Kevin sent Kodicat to Newcastle for another maiden and once again the filly ran well, finishing third. This time it wasn’t down to immaturity but the jockey just felt she hand needed the run following her break. With this de-brief Kevin was keen to crack on with the filly at the most suitable race and started to look through the entry book. 

With a handicap mark of 65 it was decided that Kodicat should utilise that and head down the handicap route. The 0-70 event at Catterick for 3 year olds looked the ideal race and Kodicat was declared to line up against 7 rivals. Tom Eaves was on board again as the pair renewed their partnership. It looked quite an open affair, as many 3 year old races are at this point in the season, with only a couple of the field having run this year. The majority of the runners were still very much unexposed so it was an interesting contest. 

Kodicat has shown good speed throughout her short career and this would be needed for a sharp track like Catterick. As the gates opened it was Flawlessly who blasted away and quickly took the lead, setting a frantic gallop. Tom had to quickly punch along his filly to get her into stride and in the early stages she struggled to match the pace. In the first furlong the field were strung out and it was Kodicat who trailed them all. Tom was having to continually work just to keep tabs on the field and ensure Kodicat was still in contact with the field. The leader, Flawlessly, was clear and going great guns out in front which was putting all the field under pressure.

 Despite being outpaced early, Kodicat was happily travelling at the back of the field once she had got into her stride. There was no let up in front and the fractions were just getting quicker. With the strong gallop continuing the leader quickly took them past halfway and into the final 2 1/2 furlongs. Although she was travelling well there was the small task of closing down a good 8-10 length gap to the leader. Tom began to niggle away and was one of the first to get to work. 

The leader was not letting up and this mean that the rest were now in catch up mode. Kodicat started to shift through the gears and she quickly passed a couple of her nearest rivals, improving her position. Between the 2f and 1f pole she really began to make her move and cut the deficit. There was little pressure coming from anywhere else and with the leader still going forward it seemed that the fast pace tactics were working. Tom sensed that he needed a big effort from his filly so with a couple of smacks he asked her to hit top gear. She obliged and took off once more, racing towards the centre of the track she scythed through the field. 

Hitting the 1f marker Kodicat had gone off in pursuit of the leader and the margin was being eaten in to. Having left the others behind it was the leader who she had in her sights and was gaining with every yard. Flawlessly was somehow still going but the first cracks began to show as her stride just started to shorten. Now the win looked possible and Kodicat continued with her powering finish. The line was drawing nearer but it was Kodicat who had the momentum and drew up to Flawlessly. With ease she continued her run and passed the leader in the last few hundred yards. Tom knew he had the race won and immediately began the process of pulling his mount up but not before she had crossed the line with a healthy 1 1/2 length advantage. 

Kodicat had shown enough to suggest she would be winning races soon and it was great to get off the mark for Reilly JDM Holding Ltd. The company is run by the Reilly brothers John, David and Micheal who have been supporters of the yard in the past and friends with Kevin. They came back into ownership and it was a nice feeling to finally get them back into the winner’s enclosure. With the way the race was run it was a good performance from Kodicat to get up late on. In the end she won a shade cosily and this could be the springboard to better things. The ability has always been there and hopefully she can build on this win to really set up a good season ahead. Plans will be made once the handicapper has had his say but the most important thing is the now Kodicat is a winner and has started to repay her owners, the first of many more enjoyable days out.