Kachy: the poignant tale of a horse who made an owner's dreams come true
“RIP big fella. You were our world and will be missed forever”. Those were the words that sparked an outpouring of love from the racing community, as owner Dave Lowe informed the adoring fans of sprint sensation Kachy that his beloved horse had had his last dance at Lingfield.
An all-weather star trained by Tom Dascombe, Kachy is fondly remembered for his front-running performances on the Polytrack, where he most notably landed the All-Weather Sprint Championship at the second time of asking in 2019.
It is rare that a sand specialist can truly capture the heart of the public in Britain, but the reaction to Lowe’s tweet in February proved he did just that.
RIP Big fella.— Dave Lowe (@jdavelowe) February 15, 2020
You were our world and will be missed forever. #KingKachy
Lowe has been on quite a journey with Kachy, a journey that the majority of owners can only dream of, and one that started in unique fashion.
“There were four original owners of Kachy who didn’t know each other at all, we had never met,” says Lowe.
“I was in the market for another share in a horse and Tom [Dascombe] sent out an email to six owners and said ‘I’ve got a deal together, the training fee is upfront’.
“It was a really good deal for the first four people who came back to him saying they were interested and the next thing I knew I owned Kachy.”
It didn’t take long for Lowe to realise just how special Kachy was. He debuted at Chester, thumping a field of ten, before turning up at Goodwood for the Group 3 Molecomb stakes.
Lowe recalls: “He won at Chester first time out, very impressively really. From that moment on I fell in love with him, but I didn’t realise how good he was until he won the Molecomb.
“Some would argue that it wasn’t the strongest Molecomb in the world, but at the end of the day he won it convincingly.
“He came out of the stalls last that day – I’ll never forget as it was so unlike him – and despite the race going completely against him, he won impressively. After he crossed the line we got offered quite a substantial amount of money to sell him but luckily we all stuck to our guns as we didn’t want to sell him at that point.”
What a wise decision that would turn out to be.
Kachy’s three-year-old campaign started disappointingly, especially for Dascombe who envisaged him lining up in the 2,000 Guineas and plotted his campaign accordingly, beginning with a 7f handicap at Newmarket.
Lowe says: “Tom had the idea that he could’ve been a Guineas horse, believe it or not, if he could just stay at that speed.
“At Newmarket first time out that’s what we tried to do over 7f. We tried to restrain him but it just didn’t work, so we thought ‘forget that, he’s definitely a sprinter!’ That’s why we went back to his favourite hunting ground, Chester, and he demolished the field there.”
A couple of months later, Kachy made the trip to Royal Ascot for a crack at the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup where he came agonisingly close to top-level success, losing out by a length to Quiet Reflection.
“I thought before the race we could go close,” says Lowe. “The only thing against us was the ground. It had rained for a couple of days before the Commonwealth Cup, which didn’t suit him. But once he got to the front he was very happy.
“We think he was looking for a rail, as he was so used to running at Chester he was looking for a lefthand rail and that’s where he finished up. If he hadn’t have done that I think he would’ve been a Group 1 winner.”
Disappointment followed for Kachy as a four-year-old, as a winless season on the turf frustrated Dascombe and prompted the ownership quarter to discuss Kachy’s future.
“I think Tom was getting a little frustrated with him,” adds Lowe. “We tried a tongue tie and did various things, but he’s a sprinter and he didn’t like us messing about with him before a race. I think he resented it and it backfired. At the end of that season the four owners got together and had to decide what to do. We received quite a few offers from stud farms who wanted to buy him off us.
“The other owners were half-interested because he’d had a bad season, but I wasn’t keen on selling.
“Eventually, after a lot of negotiation, I bought the three partners out and from that moment I had my eye on the all-weather final. Everything was geared towards that.
“Going round Lingfield is similar to going round Chester, with the bend and the fast track, and he obviously got this tag that he didn’t like running on a straight track.
“So I thought if people are right about that, then let’s go for the All-Weather Final.”
Kachy graced the golden sand of Lingfield for the first time in January 2018, six days after Lowe officially became sole owner.
He eased to victory that day and quickly made it two from two at the Surrey track, winning the Listed Cleve Stakes and earning himself a ticket to Finals Day.
It wasn’t to be that year, as a bad break from the stalls – resulting in jockey Richard Kingscote breaking his leg – put paid to his chances of victory and Lowe had to settle for second place.
“We seriously felt we had been robbed that day. We knew he handled the track and we lost the race ourselves.
“Kachy veered badly to the right and I think Richard learned from that, because he was asking Kachy to go but you didn’t need to ask him to go, he just goes out the gates automatically.
“From that moment on I think he let him go out the gate in his own time!”
Another tilt at the all-weather crown beckoned for Katchy the following year.
In between came a date with Battaash in the Group 2 Temple Stakes, where he lost to the now four-time King George winner by a neck, before a couple of disappointing runs prompted Lowe to pursue a wind operation ahead of his all-weather campaign.
“Richard felt his breathing wasn’t right and suggested giving him a wind operation.
“That terrified me because I’ve got this horse of a lifetime and didn’t want to start messing about with him – as an owner you hear horror stories of wind ops going wrong.”
It is fair to say Lowe made the correct call. Kachy turned up at Wolverhampton on his seasonal reappearance, blitzing the field and setting a new track record of 1m 11.80s.
Kachy then returned to his beloved Lingfield and, you guessed it, blitzed the field and set a new track record, this time clocking 1m 9.30s.
“That little wind op made a hell of a difference,” recalls Lowe. “At Wolverhampton I had my mouth wide open. I was thinking ‘wow’. I know it was only Wolverhampton but times don’t lie and I think that record will stand for some time.
“We went to Lingfield for the Cleves and he broke the course record again, so we definitely knew the wind op had worked by that point. To break two successive course records was amazing.”
Unsurprisingly after his two warm-up runs, Kachy had the All-weather Sprint Championship wrapped up within the first few seconds of the final, with a trademark break that instantly set him two lengths clear of the pack. He pulled further clear with ease, demolishing the field by three and a quarter lengths.
“Going into the final we were thinking, ‘What could possibly go wrong here?’ We thought if he turned up we’d win,” says Lowe. “Richard and Kachy had really bonded by that point and Richard knew he didn’t need to ask Kachy to break, he was just a sensation out the gates.
“There are very few horses like that who can just blow the gate, he was like a quarter horse in America.
“We got the minibus to Lingfield on Finals Day and that was great, champagne all round afterwards! I watched the replay on my iPad on the way home and I’m still watching it to this day.”
Heartbreakingly, that was to be the last time Kachy got his head in front on a racecourse.
In February of this year Kachy returned to Lingfield in preparation for the defence of his all-weather crown. After his usual fast start, the seven-year-old went badly wrong running down the hill and was quickly pulled up.
Sadly, the injury was fatal.
“He meant the world to us. I tweeted on the day he passed away ‘RIP big fella. You were our world’ and it was so appropriate.
“It just came to me when I was in the weighing room at Lingfield while they were trying to console us – they did everything in their power to look after us that day – and I thought I had to tweet something to the people who cared about him. He was our world, he changed our racing world and we’ll always be grateful to him for that.
“We couldn’t believe the public response. We didn’t realise until that moment how many people were on that journey with us.
“I’m not a big owner and it gives everybody hope that one day, you can find that special horse. Dreams do come true.”
Lowe will always remember Kachy as the horse who brought him untold amounts of joy at the racecourse, but also as the cheeky fellow who tried to bite his arm off when he didn’t get his way.
“Every time you went to his stable door, he would always come over to you. He’d always stick his tongue to get some attention and wouldn’t rest until you pulled his tongue. If you didn’t pull his tongue and tried to stroke him, then he’d try and chew your arm off! He wanted everything on his terms.
“The picture I’ve got in my room of Kachy that I’m just looking at now, he’s got his tongue stuck out in that too.”
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