David Johnson steps in for Simon Rowlands in our regular column, analysing the times and sectionals from the latest meeting at Kempton...
The first race was run at an overly-strong gallop, and given their proximity to the pace, the first two Wyndham Wave and Piccolo Mondo can be marked up over the bare result...
While the cat's away, the mouse gets out its stopwatch and takes its place. Filling in for Simon this week, the first thing to note is the wide range of how some of the races were run. As the table below shows, we go from an overly-strong gallop of race one, to the crawl which race six was run at.
As we continue to have to rely on taking hand-held sectionals, we remain reliant on suitable television pictures and this means that the sectional for the first race has required some estimation with the camera angle changing before the leader got to the 3f marker.
Even so, we can establish that the race was run at an overly-strong gallop, and given their proximity to the pace, the first two Wyndham Wave and Piccolo Mondo can be marked up over the bare result. Strictly speaking, on the sectionals, Piccolo Mondo emerges with slightly more credit than the winner, but in similarly modest company, both can be expected to go well again next time.
Although finishing well from off the pace, rather than ending up with too much to do, Compton Bird was finishing at a speed closer to optimum than the other principals and she wouldn't be sure to build a great deal on this step in the right direction.
The pace was on the steady side in the two-mile handicap and Lombok came in for the best ride, moved up to challenge before the winner and third, the sectionals suggesting Barachiel deserves extra credit with Star Alliance actually shaping second best.
With the two juvenile events, there isn't too much to be gleaned from the sectionals other than what the bare result suggests. Strictly speaking Extra Noble was value for winning by a length or so outright. It's worth remembering that sectionals are just one part of the puzzle though as with Fire Fighting still looking very green and likely to be suited by 1m+, he still has potential himself. Sectionals confirm the visual impression that the third is worth rating closer, but he was only third best on the day.
Richard Hughes got the fractions spot on in the two-year-old minor event, the bare form a fair reflection of these horses' merit at present, earning no sectional mark up on a respectable overall time.
The fillies' sprint handicap at 20:20 produced a good overall timefigure, the winner improving in first-time headgear. The efforts of Above The Stars and Hard Walnut can be safely ignored - their riders went off too fast, but the pace didn't collapse behind them and the winner can be considered full value for her success.
The 20:50 ended up a most unsatisfactory renewal, run at a crawl, which led to them producing the quickest last 3f split on the night. The overall time was so slow, it actually produced a negative timefigure!
Reaching hard and fast conclusions from such a flimsy piece of form is perhaps not the wisest, but the sectionals confirm that Villoresi was an unlucky loser. Nordic Quest has slipped in the weights despite having done very little wrong on polytrack and he shaped second best on the sectional times so is worth another chance on this surface.
The concluding handicap produced a respectable overall time, and though those that raced prominently performed better than those held up, there's nothing to suggest the first three are particularly flattered.