Danica Guy doesn’t yet know how much there is under the bonnet, but
if looks are anything to go by she believes she might have something in
the former Hong Kong galloper Kitaya.
The Irish-bred grey arrived at Guy’s Matamata stable two months ago
after being retired in Hong Kong and then gifted to her. Initially
Kitaya was all at sea in his new environment, but after settling into
the New Zealand stable routine and trackwork, Guy is close to lining the
seven-year-old up in a trial.
“He was a bit off the clock to begin with, he wouldn’t settle in his
paddock and was very keen in his work, but he’s turned the corner, he’s
now lovely to do anything with,” Guy said after Kitaya had got through
strong work at the Matamata track this morning.
“I didn’t have much idea of what type he was, so it was a pleasant
surprise to see the horse that came off the float. He’s a gorgeous
individual, not just his colour, everything about him.
“He retired sound in Hong Kong and even though he didn’t perform up
to expectations there, I think it was more to do with not having the
right races and track conditions.”
Kitaya began his career under the name US Law in France, where he won
a 1600-metre maiden two-year-old race at Longchamp before going on to
win a Group Three 1600 metres on the same track and then finish third
in the Gr. 1 Criterium International de Saint-Cloud, also over 1600
High hopes were held for the son of French Derby winner Lawman as a
three-year-old, but after a first-up third he failed in three Group One
attempts and was sold to Hong Kong.
Kicking off in class two, he was unplaced in his first season, then
finished third twice in 12 starts during the 2015-16 season and
eventually found form with two class four wins over 1650 metres at Happy
“Looking at his European form he handled heavy ground, so I shouldn’t
have any trouble finding conditions to suit him,” Guy said. “I’m not
wanting to get ahead of myself and the first thing is to find a trial
for him and take it from there.”