Exciting galloper Catalyst has made the perfect start to his three-year-old season with his two stakes victories to date, and leading Australian form analyst Daniel O’Sullivan believes the son of Darci Brahma will only get better.
The Clayton Chipperfield-trained gelding put in an eye-catching performance at Ruakaka on Saturday to win the Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) and O’Sullivan was impressed with what he saw.
“It was an outstanding win in the way he overcame being held up in the straight and was then able to accelerate quickly and strongly, powering through the line,” he said.
“His final 200m speed rating was very impressive and he was increasing his margin as he ran through the line, which I love to see.
“There's no doubt that without that bad luck and/or had they gone further, he wins by much more.”
While impressed with his run on Saturday, O’Sullivan expects Catalyst to continue to improve.
“There's no doubt that he's a top class prospect,” he said. “The figures behind his performances well and truly back up the visual impressiveness of his wins, which isn't always the case with lightly raced horses that win easily.
“He's only had four starts and was a mid-November foal, so there's no doubt he has plenty of potential for further improvement.”
Catalyst has a big spring instore and O’Sullivan believes he will be ideally suited to the mile distance of the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) for which he is a $1.90 favourite in the TAB’s futures market.
“The quality of late speed Catalyst shows suggests he will be better suited beyond 1200m.
“I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in the 1400m to 1600m distance range. I think that's the trip we are likely to see another new peak rating.”
The NZ 2000 Guineas remains Catalyst’s primary goal this spring, however, O’Sullivan said from what he has shown to date, Catalyst would be very competitive in three-year-old stakes company in Australia.
“On his exposed best so far, Catalyst's ratings and speed measures would see him very competitive in three-year-old Listed to Group Two races in Australia, especially in Melbourne,” O’Sullivan said.
“He'd need to dodge the genuine top-class types from Sydney we have seen already such as Bivouac, Exceedance and Yes Yes Yes, but he's in the mix with the best of the remaining colts and geldings.”
O’Sullivan said Catalyst compares favourably to the former Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Saracino who went on to Group Two success in Australia as a three-year-old.
“At this stage I have Catalyst’s best in the 95.5 to 97 rating range, that's one length off Saracino at the same stage of the season,” he said.
“He resumed and won the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) against older horses in 2016 and then went to Melbourne at his next start and improved another length to win the Gr.2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
“The 2019 edition of that race was just last Saturday and won by Dalasan in a 97.5 rating, barely 0.2 lengths better than Catalyst’s peak so far, so there's no doubt he can measure up.
“The exciting aspect of Catalyst is that he is likely to be better over further (ground).” – NZ Racing Desk