At this time of year trainers and owners are all hoping their horses are in good health and hopefully improved from the year before. This is so true with year olds who have developed from babies and now getting nearer the finished article. Usually you can tell what types are going to progress and which ones are typical 2 year olds. One thing that helps is the pedigree but this can be tricky with first season sires, who offer now previous stats on just how their progeny progress. Lualiwa answered any questions in emphatic style when taking the 7f 3 year old Maiden at Chelmsford, securing his first career win.
Foxwedge had already stood for a year in his native Australia before coming to Britain. Lualiwa was out of his first crop of northern hemisphere progeny and he looked a likely 2 year old type. His juvenile season showed promise being placed over both 6f and 7f. There was one factor that seemed to be holding him back though and that was his tendency to be a bit boisterous, having his mind on things other than racing. This led to Kevin gelding the bay over the winter hoping that this would help him reach his potential.
Lualiwa was working well at home but there was still the question as to how Foxwedge sired horses would progress into their 3 year old career and beyond. They certainly looked the part and Lualiwa was not different, he seemed to be stronger and more mature. Kevin was keen to try and get a run into him early on, hopefully picking up a maiden before the turf season ahead. When he saw the 7f contest at Chelmsford it ticked all the boxes.
Only 7 were declared for the maiden and on paper it looked a match race on the form already shown. Muqaatil and Lualiwa were vying for favouritism and deservedly so as their form was a long way clear of anything else shown. Bobbio was the closest rival to them in the market on his debut run but obviously the pair had a distinct experience advantage.
Kevin Stott made the journey south to take the ride and from the outset he was determined to make sure it wasn’t a wasted one. Breaking from the stalls both the fancied runners jumped well and were quickly away. Muqaatil had the inner draw but Kevin rousted Lualiwa along to go a stride quicker. By the time they hit the first bend Kevin had managed to track across, grab the lead and dictate from the front. Fortunately Sean Levey just tucked in behind Lualiwa, meaning they didn’t take each other on and so a sensible race ensued. It helped that Kevin was positive and set a good gallop.
For good portions of the race there was little to talk about. Lualiwa led throughout, Muqaatil sat just off him whilst the rest filtered in behind. Before the race it looked like a match and before halfway it was obviously going to be that. The strong gallop had separated the two favourites from the rest as one by one they struggled and had to be worked at to keep any kind of connection with the front two. Lualiwa was happy in front, travelling well and setting decent fractions. His market rival was stalking every move and travelled just as well so it was going to be in the home straight where the race would develop and be decided.
Rounding the second and final bend, between the 3f and 2f markers, Kevin began to wind things up in front. He loosened the reins and got Lualiwa to lengthen, upping the pace and tempo. Muqaatil followed suit and the pair moved clear with just a length separating them. As they straightened up the race changed shape quite drastically. Kevin was still doing very little but Sean Levey suddenly had to get low in the saddle and ask more serious questions. The favourite could not make any dent in to Lualiwa’s lead and it began to open up. Lualiwa was still going strong and had moved clear with ease.
As the final furlong approached it was now a case of how far and when Kevin pushed the button it became clear that it was as far as he liked. In a few strides Lualiwa kicked clear into an unassailable lead. As soon as Kevin had got into his drive he was just as quickly up again, applying the brakes. Heavily eased down, Lualiwa crossed the line with a 2 1/2 length advantage, winning with ease.
The result was great but so too was the performance. Lualiwa showed a far more professional attitude during all aspects of the race and won with as much in hand as he liked. It was lovely to get a winner for Rosie and Julian Richer who have been long time supporters of the yard and found Lualiwa to replace the retired Trail Blaze. Obviously now things will be more difficult for Lualiwa but he looks like a progressive 3 year old. He showed great pace but saw the trip out very well so the options are open for Lualiwa. He will certainly go on and it looks like fun times ahead for the Richer’s.