Simon Rowlands was busy taking sectional times at Kempton on Thursday and has a horse to add to the profitable 'to follow' list...
As a horse with a 105 sectional rating at a relatively early stage of its career, Desert Wings looks a good bet to be making his mark in listed races, or even better, in coming months...
Thursday's six-race Kempton card has to go down as one of the most uninspiring in the course's recent history. But in amongst the dross was a performance of rare merit judged on overall and sectional times, and it could get missed more widely due to the context.
That performance was, of course, by Desert Wings in the opener. The Godolphin three-year-old was beating nothing out of the ordinary in getting off the mark at the fourth time of asking. But he did so by 8 lengths, and only a well-above-average runner could have posted a time of 1:23.85 on an evening when the speed of the surface was much as it usually is.
His last-3f sectional of about 35.9s shows that he ran pretty efficiently - fractionally faster than par early on given his overall time, in fact - and does not suggest much of a mark-up is required. But it is possible to take an even more positive view of time performances throughout the card armed with the knowledge of how the overall times were arrived at, and that is what has been done in the above table.
As a horse with a 105 sectional rating at a relatively early stage of its career, Desert Wings looks a good bet to be making his mark in listed races, or even better, in coming months.
Most of the other performances provided negative information, though the race won by Magnus Maximus in efficient style (similar last-3f time to Desert Wings) looks solid, with runner-up Much Promise possibly unlucky not to win narrowly. Tamarkuz, another Godolphin horse, showed a smart turn of foot (34.6s sectional) to win the mile minor event and could be another to make his mark in a higher grade.
The other winners really were underwhelming, with a particularly slow-motion finish for Sydney James in coming out on top in the mile claimer for two-year-olds. He might not necessarily prevail if this race were to be run again on the same terms and will surely have his work cut out in stronger company.
The only horse from the profitable sectional lists declared in the next two days is Speedfiend, who looks out of his depth in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. The policy is to let such horses run for the list regardless, so sectional followers will be siding with a horse likely to go off at 100/1 or bigger. But this does provide a good opportunity to supplement a horse to the "to follow" list that runs in the same race.
Hot Streak ran an amazing time in winning last week's Cornwallis Stakes at Ascot by 5 lengths, and TurfTrax sectionals suggest there could be even more to come from him. Sub-11-second furlongs mid-race meant that Hot Streak was not quite so strong at the finish as might otherwise have been the case. But by then he had buried his rivals, who were finishing even more slowly than he was.
Hot Streak could well be a high-class sprinter in the making, though his stamina may need to be nursed for this extra furlong. Either way, he is worth having on your side here.
"To follow": Desert Wings and Hot Streak.
"To oppose": Sydney James.
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