Guest Posts

18 December 2015

There have been two further Fast Track Qualifiers – the winning of which gives an automatic berth on Finals’ Day at Lingfield Park on 25 March 2016 – since the last Timeform AW Championships blog at the start of December, and neither went the way expected.

First up was the Download the New Unibet Racing App Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton on 05 December, in which the smart Ornate went off odds on but came unstuck behind Quatrieme Ami (pictured), who was winning his third race in a row. Further improvement from the Philip McBride-trained winner was not a great surprise, but Ornate faded into third behind Sign of The Kodiac also and clearly was not at his best. Nonetheless, Quatrieme Ami posted a handy overall time given the slower-than-normal conditions and has been credited with a 100 rating by Timeform. That would have seen him go close in the first Unibet Three-Year-Old Sprint Final back in April, but that race, along with others on the big day, promises to be even tougher to win this time. Moonrise Landing (pictured) plies her trade near the other end of the distance spectrum, but her FTQ win in the two-mile 32Red Conditions Stakes, also at Wolverhampton, on 12 December marked her down as a candidate for the same sponsor’s Marathon in March. WOL670-7547 Moonrise Landing (Jim Crowley) 12-12-15_opt It seems likely that neither of the Godolphin-owned pair of Anglophile and Famous Kid (who was another third-placer at odds on) ran to their very best, but Moonrise Landing beat them handsomely and increased her Timeform rating to 106, just a few pounds behind what it has taken to win on Finals’ Day previously. The best effort on the all-weather in the period under review came not in a FTQ but in a handicap on that same Wolverhampton card, however. Godolphin may have been unsuccessful later on, but it was spectacularly successful with the three-year-old Festive Fare in the Coral Handicap over an extended nine furlongs. The son of Teofilo defied a BHA mark of 103 in style, coming from behind despite just a fair gallop, and running to one of the highest Timeform ratings (115) of the AW Championships so far. Festive Fare is unbeaten in three runs on all-weather and probably better on the surface than on turf. He could well be one for the Coral Easter Classic (won by the same connections’ Tryster this year) a few months down the line. Races are won by running faster than one’s rivals, not necessarily by running as fast as possible, but running fast for a section of a race is nearly always a sign of superior ability, and sometimes of superior ability that may be missed otherwise. Timeform has used video analysis to come up with sectionals for all horses on the all-weather in recent years and the “fastest closing sectionals” of this AW Championship so far make for interesting reading.
Fastest closing sectionals by older horses on AW, 29/10/2015 to 16/12/2015
Course Date Horse Race Dist Sect Time Fin Spd Speed
Chelmsford 23-Nov MEDICEAN MAN 5.00f 33.39s 103.7% 40.4 mph
Kempton 18-Nov CELESTIAL PATH 8.00f 33.84s 110.7% 39.9 mph
Lingfield 09-Dec AL KHAN 7.00f 21.80s 108.9% 41.3 mph
Southwell 12-Dec MAPPIN TIME 5.00f 34.21s 102.9% 39.5 mph
Wolverhampton 28-Nov WINSLOW 8.64f 22.42s 113.3% 40.1 mph
Fastest closing sectionals by two-year-olds on AW, 29/10/2015 to 16/12/2015
Course Date Horse Race Dist Sect Time Fin Spd Speed
Chelmsford 07-Nov CALDER PRINCE 6.00f 33.43s 108.0% 40.4 mph
Kempton 15-Dec SINGYOURSONG 8.00f 33.84s 112.9% 39.9 mph
Lingfield 17-Nov KUMMIYA 8.00f 22.25s 110.9% 40.4 mph
Southwell 24-Nov GOOD TRIP 7.00f 36.63s 104.4% 36.9 mph
Wolverhampton 05-Dec MUTAWAALY 8.64f 22.53s 114.0% 39.9 mph
In among the more recognisable names like Medicean Man (beaten a hair’s breadth at Royal Ascot earlier this year) and the Racing Post Trophy third Celestial Path are some lesser-known horses who could make more of a splash in the future. Most interesting of all, arguably, is Singyoursong, who ran the fastest last-three furlongs by a two-year-old at Kempton this year over any distance by Timeform’s reckoning when a highly eye-catching third to Cajoled on 15 December. That accolade was Western Hymn’s in 2013 (33.8s) and Jellicle Ball’s in 2014 (33.7s), two John Gosden-trained horses who went on to be Group class, though the latter ultimately disappointed. Singyoursong may not end up being quite that good, but she won’t have to be to win a maiden, and her sectional rating of 95 on the back of this debut effort suggests doing so should be a formality. The next FTQs are some way off, at Deauville on 27 December and Chelmsford on 02 January, but you do not have to wait very long to come across quality racing on AW these days. This Saturday’s Lingfield card includes the £40,000-added Coral Quebec Listed race over ten furlongs, in which the Coral Easter Classic third Grendisar is top-rated by Timeform. Grendisar underperformed in his first three races after a post-Finals’ Day break but was back on song when runner-up to the classy Let’s Go in a similar race at course and distance last time. Among Grendisar’s 11 declared rivals is Lamar, who has the distinction of being the only horse to have won two FTQs already. Lamar usually runs at shorter but does also have a course-and-distance second at this level to her name, albeit nearly a year ago. Good Trip (see fastest sectionals table) has a favourite’s chance in the three-runner 32Red Novice Stakes, while the upwardly mobile The Steward looks a leading contender for the £19,000-added Handicap still earlier on the card. That’s plenty to look forward to!

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