Some quality racing brought quicker than usual times at this week's Kempton all-weather meetings, but closer analysis also suggests that the surface (which was of very similar speed on the two days) was slightly faster than usual in any case. The finishing speed %s also point to a higher incidence of truly-run races than is customary at the track. Indeed, that has tended to be the case in the last fortnight. Riding regularly on consistent all-weather surfaces - rather than to-ing and fro-ing between that and turf - enables jockeys to judge pace better: discuss.
The races won by Poyle Vinnie and Fiftyshadesfreed produced good times for the grade, and a slight lift to the overall timefigures results in good sectionals for the principals in both contests also. There was little between the first three on sectionals in Maria's Choice's race, with third-placed Little Buxted (about 36.15s for last 3f) finishing best.
The two divisions of the 7f maidens were run in the same finishing speed % but the second division resulted in a faster overall time (and closing sectional, obviously) and is almost certainly stronger form. Secret Archive got a soft lead in division one and is inferior to runner-up Quiet Warrior on sectionals. Mr Greenspan, second to Naadirr in division two, ran the last 3f in about 34.65s and gets a 78 sectional rating on the back of it, good enough to win a similar contest in the coming weeks.
Bertiewhittle (last 3f of about 34.95s) comes out marginally best in the mile listed race, but the overall time is disappointing for the grade. Arch Villain and Presburg recorded respectable times overall and get upgraded for quicker-than-par closing sectionals, the latter and the horse he beat, Grendisar, likely to remain highly competitive at this sort of level.
The winners of races 1, 2, 5, 7 and 8 ran particularly close to par on Thursday, with Loyalty and Upavon collaring horses (Clockmaker and Frontier Fighter) who had gone fractionally too fast in their races. The sectional ratings of all winners takes into account a slight lift in the overall timefigures, as they did on Wednesday.
The race won by Pretty Bubbles was strongly run (everything finished in 98.6% or less) and may flatter the winner by a length or so, but those won by Maverick and Shavansky were the opposite. Naaz caught the eye in fifth in the former, coming home quickest in about 35.05s and worth rating close behind the first two, while joint-second Litigant (34.55s) comes out best of all in the latter and can be rated better than the winner by a length or two.
Litigant could well be decidedly useful, but his chequered history does not inspire confidence. Naaz, on the other hand, appears a tough sort, and one who is as yet unexposed on all-weather. He makes the profitable "to follow" list, which had another winner in Squirrel Wood at Lingfield on Wednesday.
To follow: Naaz, Mr Greenspan
To oppose: Secret Archive
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