Kick On, the one-time English Classic hope who was sold privately from Qatar Racing to Elkaer Stutteri earlier this year, has, in a manner that befits his name, put a disappointing first appearance behind him to notch up three Stakes victories on the bounce.
The four-year-old first showed his true ability when landing the Group 3 Stockholms Stora Pris at Bro Park midway through June, running on to record a two length success over King David, who had previously won at Group 3 level and has since secured a five length victory in a Listed contest at Klampenborg Racecourse.
Kick On also followed up with a Listed success in late July, again at Bro Park, before stepping back up to Group 3 level for the Marit Sveaas Minnelop at Øvrevoll in late August. He duly won, bringing up a hat-trick of wins for Stutteri and his new trainer, Niels Petersen.
Once again, the form of that race looks solid, with the third-place getter, Square De Luynes, having since scored by a comprehensive three-and-a-half lengths at Group 3 level.
Next up for this exciting new recruit to the Petersen stable is the Listed Arnfinn Lund Memorial at Øvrevoll on 4thOctober, before a possible tilt at more valuable targets further afield in 2021.
“He is doing extremely well,” Petersen reports. “His new owners bought him with the aim to send him to World Cup Carnival in Dubai, and we’re still hoping that the carnival will go on in 2021″.
“I still expect him to progress further and we are definitely planning on going abroad next year”.
Kick On’s Scandinavian success story pays handsome tribute to his roots; more specifically, to a man named Tim Rootes, who bred the horse at Shutford Stud in Oxfordshire, England.
In a turn of events that lends a certain poignancy to Kick On’s recent achievements, Rootes died in July of this year, shortly after this particular Shutford graduate recorded his first Scandinavian victory.
A Shutford winner overseas always brought Rootes great pleasure and satisfaction. Bloodstock agent Keith Harte, who was Rootes’ tenant at the stud for seven years and was responsible for looking after the stud’s stock and putting them through the sales ring, knew the breeder well.
“Every morning, he’d read the EBN and follow the horses he bred, no matter where they won – Spain, Italy, Scandinavia,” Harte recounts. “He’d always find out where they’d gone and, sometimes, he’d even email or contact trainers from far afield just to find out how his stock were doing. He followed them all the time. He’d often come out here in the morning and say, ‘so and so won in Germany or Italy or wherever’.”
It was Harte himself who prepared and consigned Kick On for the Tattersalls December Foal Sale back in 2016.
“He left all of it to us, except for when it came to matings,” Harte recalls. “In his latter years, he used to visit the farm maybe once a week when he was out walking, but primarily it was all left to us, placing them in the sales and things like that.”
Harte has fond memories of Kick On as a foal and was satisfied when he realised 80,000 guineas in the ring.
“He was a very nice foal and sold well enough for an older mare,” he explains. “I suppose the stallion hadn’t done particularly well by that point, so you wouldn’t have been hoping that he was that highly regarded, but he had all the attributes from a physical point of view that would make a good racehorse. He went on to run in the 2,000 Guineas, so he did end up being highly thought of.”
Indeed, Kick On has gone on to be the most highly rated offspring by Tweenhills stallion Charm Spirit, who shuttles to Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand and today has 23 Stakes performers to his name, including 6 Group winners, 2 Listed winners and two Group 2 winners in New Zealand.
To Harte, it makes eminent sense that Kick On should also venture overseas for his new connections.
“It’s great to see these horses go on to further afield and do so well,” he says. “In countries like Australia and in Scandinavia, they love running them when they’re only coming to their peak. He could be a very good horse to travel the world with when they can.”
Whether the current difficulties presented by the Covid-19 pandemic allow for a trip to the Dubai World Cup Carnival in 2021 remains to be seen, but so far, the plan is coming together as well as one could hope.
Back in the UK, Harte is focussed on the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Books 2 and 3 (12th-14th October and 15th-16th October), at which he is set to offer a total of ten yearlings.
“In Book 2 we have four yearlings, all particularly nice individuals. I would hope they would sell well. We have a half-sister to Group 3 winner Dandhu by Twilight Son [Lot 1090] that we bred ourselves. The stallion seems to be going well.
“The Time Test colt [Lot 1156] is a very good-looking horse with lots of size and scope to him, so I’d hope he’ll go well. Book 2 is a sale that primarily is governed by good looking stock and he falls into that category.”
Harte will also offer a further six in Book 3, including one by Ribchester, whose first crop of yearlings have so far been very popular, selling for up to £240,000.
Book 3, which posted an average of 16,147 guineas and a median of 10,000 guineas in 2019, has been well represented this year by a quartet of Group 3 winners in Breathtaking Look (who cost 42,000 guineas), Certain Lad (13,000 guineas), Far Above (18,000 guineas) and Top Rank (26,000 guineas).
Reflecting on where his career has taken him since he first arrived at Shutford Stud, Harte is keen to stress that he has much to thank Rootes for.
As it turns out, so do Elkaer Stutteri and Niels Petersen. Long may the Scandinavian legacy continue.
Watch: Kick On winning Stockholms Stora Pris (Gr.3)