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Guy testing the water with former Hong Kong galloper
14 Jun 2017

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 metres.

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 Valley.

“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.”