Kalamata to get off mark
FITZNAHUM WILLIAMS' debutante, Great Britain-bred KALAMATA, one of six foreigners in that barn, has been working like an open allowance runner and has been meticulously prepared for Saturday's two-turn overnight allowance, considering the distances at which she won her two races in England.
A four-year-old filly, KALAMATA has been described by Track and Pools' resident clocker, Donovan 'The Clockman' Cunningham, as medium-built with good conformation.
However, her workouts have surpassed 'medium', galloping a mile in 1:45.0 from the gate on May 15 before putting down one bullet work after the other last month.
On June 2, the bay filly posted 1:14.0 for six furlongs, followed by 1:12.4 on June 20 before rounding off at 1:13.0 a week later. Williams, the man who conditioned 2008 Derby winning-filly, ALSAFRA, closed KALAMATA's preparation with 1:00.4, easy, five furlongs from the gate on Tuesday.
KALAMATA faces nine rivals on Saturday, including HOUDINI'S MAGIC and JAMAI RAJA, both recently down in class, but not with the best of form.
HOUDINI'S MAGIC has not reproduced his form since running a cracker for third behind stablemate BIGDADDYKOOL in April's Legal Light Trophy and has not been doing much at exercise in the interim.
JAMAI RAJA has only raced twice this year, finishing down the track in May at seven furlongs, a five-month lay-up in May after his exertions in December's Grade 1 Diamond Mile, which he led to about a furlong-and-a-half out. He returned on Derby Day, June 24, and placed third at six furlongs behind CHOO CHOO BLUE and DWAYNE STAR.
Though he appeared sharp on Sunday, clocking 1:13.3 for six furlongs, JAMAI RAJA looks outgunned by the foreigner, who, from all indications, will love every inch, and more, of nine furlongs and 25 yards.
KALAMATA's victories were recorded in handicap races, running on all-weather surfaces at Wolverhampton and Kempton, both in excess of nine furlongs.
Going 9.47 furlongs on Wolverhampton's left-hand track, KALAMATA covered the distance, almost nine- and-a-half furlongs, in 2:00.0. Considering PERFECT NEIGHBOUR recently won nine furlongs in 1:52.3, KALAMATA's time at 9.47 furlongs is right up there with the average local Grade 1 runner.
Her breeding is great, sired by Sir Percy, the 2006 Epsom Derby winner, who ran 10 times and won five races. He was also among the leading British two-year-olds of 2005 with a win in the Dewhurst Stakes.
Sir Percy's sire, Mark of Esteem, won the 1996 2,000 Guineas. His dam Percy's Lass, won the Group 3 September Stakes in 1988.