Count Kala blasts home in upset

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Count Kala sprints clear to win the TabTouch Regional Championship The Road To Ascot heat (1230m) with Lisa Staples in the saddle.
Camera IconCount Kala sprints clear to win the TabTouch Regional Championship The Road To Ascot heat (1230m) with Lisa Staples in the saddle. Credit: Laurie Benson

Troublesome sprinter Count Kala has franked his disappointing first-up run by winning the $30,000 TabTouch Regional Championship The Road To Ascot heat (1230m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

A $29 outsider in the field of 14, Count Kala settled midfield for jockey Lisa Staples before unleashing a powerful turn of foot in the home straight to cause a major upset over favourite Captivated Point.

The Alan McNamara Jr-trained gelding was well beaten first-up at Mt Barker, finishing seven lengths behind Majestic Man, but the removal of blinkers and a more settled horse on race day helped deliver victory in Sunday’s feature.

Count Kala hit the line strongly to down Captivated Point, who was backed into $3.50 favourite, by one length with rank outsider Force Element (a $138 chance) filling third place.

The result improved Count Kala’s terrific record at the track and distance, having now won three of six starts over 1230m in Albany.

Allen McNamara was on hand to collect the winner’s trophy post-race for his family’s stable and McNamara Jr said it was pleasing that his galloper turned his form around.

Jockey Lisa Staples returns to scale after winning the TabTouch Regional Championship The Road To Ascot heat on Count Kala for local trainer Alan McNamara Jr.
Camera IconJockey Lisa Staples returns to scale after winning the TabTouch Regional Championship The Road To Ascot heat on Count Kala for local trainer Alan McNamara Jr. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We were very disappointed in his first-up run,” McNamara Jr said.

“He played up so badly (parading), was caught three and four deep so we put it down to a combination of things.

“He drew an inside gate, jumped and had cover and there was a huge difference in the way he paraded.”

The first three horses across the line in the Great Southern heat of the championships are guaranteed a start in the $100,000 final at Ascot on December 1.

But McNamara Jr said the six-year-old was no certainty to start in the final given his issues with long float trips.

“We are considering all our options,” he said.

“He travels so bad on a float so taking him to Perth is a worry.

“Lisa is happy to ride him in Perth if we take him there and under the rules he has to run in it not here, so we’ll see.”

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