Keep an eye on Kyne

Filed on 30 Oct 2008 @ 17:07

Keep an eye on Kyne

By Ian Carnaby

The nights draw in, the last race tends to be soon after 4pm, the ante-post markets concentrate on the Paddy Power Gold Cup as opposed to the November Handicap and suddenly another Flat season is all but done and dusted.

November was really something in those days

I make the switch later than most. The November Handicap has meant a lot to me, ever since Operatic Society won in 1959, beating 48 rivals. No one believes that figure now and thinks it must be a misprint so, just to repeat, 49 runners lined up in the Manchester fog, Operatic Society with 8st 9lb broke the weight-carrying record for a three-year old and this after unshipping Ken Gethin and completing a circuit of the course on his own. The race was memorable for several reasons, not least the fact that it was run on the same day as the Hennessy Gold Cup, won by Kerstin, when the Hennessy was run at Cheltenham. To paraphrase Burt Lancaster’s remarks about the Atlantic Ocean in the film Atlantic City, ‘Ah, November was really something in those days’.

The ’59 Hennessy took place when sponsorship was still in its early days. The Mackeson was inaugurated in 1960 and became the traditional ‘starting point’ for the NH season proper. Mackeson kept going for as long as milk stout remained popular, then gave way to Murphy’s, followed by Thomas Pink and Paddy Power. Thomas Pink, famous shirt makers who were briefly in love with the game - the amount of pink champagne they laid on at the Connaught on launch night had to be seen to be believed - at least provided one of racing’s better jokes: “I used to drink the sponsor’s product, now I can lose it’.

Anyway, the Paddy Power prices are available but the November Handicap, run a week earlier, has attracted relatively little attention. I shall look for something carrying around 8st 7lb, though a good claimer’s allowance would be a bonus.
Apprentices have a good record for the simple reason that they have had all season to make an impression and are much in demand. Furthermore, punters trust the talented ones to get it right; Richard Fox could still claim 7lb when winning on Gritti Palace in 1974, the horse clearly thinking he was running loose with a net 7st to carry, leaving aside the weight of expectation which saw him sent off 7 to 2 favourite. ‘Foxy’ was never one to worry about such things.

Quinn will look to keep Jamie Kyne's claim as long as possible

Personally, I’d like to see Jamie Kyne with a ride in the race this time around. If the name is unfamiliar, you might like to check his efforts on a couple of John (JJ) Quinn’s sprinters recently. He gave Dig Deep every chance at Pontefract but just failed to reach Kay Two, then finished second again on yard stalwart Fantasy Explorer at Doncaster. The latter was a shade unlucky in that, although best at five furlongs, he could not quite go the early pace from stall 22 of 22 against the nearside rail. Therefore he had to come between horses before just failing to catch the winner Judge ’N Jury, who is easily the most improved sprinter in training. Kyne was surrounded by senior jockeys in that race, a £50,000 event, but stayed calm and, most importantly, kept the horse balanced after circumstances had conspired against him.

Time is running out but if Quinn, an excellent dual-purpose trainer, can find a five-furlong race for either Dig Deep or Fantasy Explorer before the curtain falls, have a little bit on. Incidentally I also noticed, when Dig Deep ran in the red-hot Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club Sprint at Ascot, that Kyne can do 7st 7lb. At a time when everyone is looking at the top lads and lasses who are already making headlines and can still claim - but not for long - you have to spot the up-and-coming ones before everyone else.

Quinn, who was no mean rider himself and won the Swinton Hurdle on State Jester as well as finishing third in the Champion Hurdle on Past Glories, is clever enough to preserve Kyne’s allowance for as long as possible. It would be a pity if the winners started coming in a mini-rush at Southwell and Wolverhampton over the winter months and I doubt that it will happen. You may have to wait a while for tangible rewards, but make a note of Jamie Kyne’s name now and have a quick glance at the riding arrangements at Doncaster on November 8. If Brian Ellison was shrewd enough to book him for Hue in the Cesarewitch (they finished 8th of thirty-two at 66 to 1), others will soon be on the case.

Filed on 30 Oct 2008 @ 17:07