AN APOLOGY was readied by a jockey after a Welsh racehorse's muddy stroll lured the handicapper from his lair.
Tom O'Brien eased Kayf Moss over the line at Ffos Las at the weekend, 27 lengths clear of his toiling rivals and in a much faster time than the feature Welsh Champion Hurdle.
"He did say sorry for winning the way he did," said the trainer John Flint, who has seen his horse's mark escalate.
Flint has always held the six-year-old in high regard as previously told to this column, but only now is the penny starting to drop.
His eyebrow was raised at how blinkers have turned the gelding from "a bit of a wimp" into a polished individual.
"If a horse came alongside him he would have backed off," said Flint about the Kayf Moss of old.
"He was a little bit of a baby but he's become a man. Tom felt he had a lot left the other day."
An outing in the Cheltenham Festival's Coral Cup might be next on the agenda, a meeting at which the son of Kayf Tara ran in the Champion Bumper last year.
A change to front running tactics plus headgear have turned the Welsh horse from ugly monster to menace.
And that's a description Flint won't mind should his horse meet his hopes of defying a career high mark.
"He's a horse for punters to keep an interest in," said an astute Flint.
My faith is in an outsider this afternoon and that's Poet, chalked up at 50-1 after declarations for the Betfair Hurdle (Newbury 3.35) came out.
It's a bit of a leap of faith considering his current form but the nine-year-old loves Newbury; in fact he has not finished out of the frame here.
Light weights are to be followed with the ground how it is at the moment and James Banks is a capable young rider to boot.
I'd suggest having a saver on Totalize as Brian Ellison's charge is coming nicely to the boil for this hot race.