TRAINER Roger Varian and the owner’s retained jockey Jim Crowley must have been enduring a frustrating sense of déjà vu at Kempton last Wednesday evening when Sheikh Hamdan’s Khuzaam was denied success in the Listed Hyde Stakes in the dying strides, just as he was 12 months earlier. On that occasion it was Set Piece who thwarted him in the mile contest on the Kempton Polytrack for Hugo Palmer, James Doyle and Khaled Abdullah. Caught right on the line 12 months ago, Khuzaam and Crowley were snared a fraction earlier this year, on his first start since that heartbreaking defeat, when Richard Kingscote produced the classy Kinross to deny him a few strides out. Trained by Ralph Beckett for Julian Richmond-Watson, who also bred him at his Lawn Stud, Kinross was an impressive debut winner as a 2yo last October, routing 14 rivals over 7f at Newmarket. He was then fifth, over a mile on the Newcastle Tapeta, in the rearranged Group 1 Futurity Trophy won by Kameko.
Beckett’s charge reappeared this season in the 2000 Guineas, also landed by Kameko, when sixth. The Kingman colt was then not beaten all that far when eighth in the 7f Prix Jean Prat, behind Godolphin’s Pinatubo. Back over a mile he was fourth at Haydock in the Group 3 Superior Mile, then failing to beat a rival at Newbury, back at 7f, when a disappointing favourite in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes. Held up last of the ten runners by Kingscote, Kinross produced a power packed finish along the rail to deny Khuzaam in the final strides, the eventual winning margin three parts of a length. This win provides Kinross with a guaranteed start in the All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield on All- Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, 2 April. Kingscote said: “I was happy early on because the race was going to plan.
Ralph asked me to sit him in as on the book it looked like there was pace in the race. We were in a nice rhythm and I was happy. “We were picking up ground comfortably heading towards the cutaway, although Jim Crowley was far enough ahead. To be fair as soon as I gave Kinross a crack, I felt like I was on the winner. “He gave me a very enjoyable ride. It is nice when you get a dream run and slice through them like a knife through butter on a horse that is good enough to do it. “This should pick his confidence up because he has been running in top races and it is not easy for them to have a year like that. I think tonight will do him the world of good. “I think he just needs races that are run to suit. It is possible that he might get further, but I would rather see him stick to the mile. I think it suits him well.”