Simon Rowlands discusses the significance and implications of the sectional data from Newmarket's big weekend meeting...
The latest meeting for which sectionals were made available, as part of TurfTrax's arrangement to cover The British Champion Series, was Dubai Future Champions Day on the Newmarket Rowley Mile on Saturday 13 October 2012.
We now have quite a bit of sectional information regarding the course, so comparisons are reasonably straightforward. The official going was given as "good to soft", but overall and sectional times strongly suggest it was no slower than "good", which is the description that Timeform has used.
The abiding feature of Dawn Approach's win in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes was how efficiently he ran the 7f race. His finishing speeds - expressed as a % of his average race speed - for the last 4f (102.1%), 3f (100.8%), 2f (98.7%) and 1f (94.6%) were very close to par and therefore indicate no need to upgrade his effort. His overall timefigure was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a good one of 122: the best by a two-year-old this year.
The leader in the Dewhurst, Leitir Mor, set a strong pace and did well to hang in there, though there is nothing from the sectionals to suggest he was anything other than second-best on the day.
A good pace, resulting in a good time, and little need to tinker with the result, is a reasonable summary of the G1 Middle Park Stakes as well. Reckless Abandon came out narrowly on top despite finishing fractionally slower than par.
He could be fancied to confirm the placings under similar circumstances, but it is also reasonable to infer from his figures that this six furlongs may prove to be the limit of his stamina.
The opening G2 Challenge Stakes was run in a time 0.03 sec slower than the Dewhurst, resulting in a disappointing overall timefigure of 105 for older horses.
The winner, Fulbright, ran the second to fourth furlongs inclusive faster than did Dawn Approach, despite being a few lengths back, and the obvious conclusion is that is why the end time suffered. Runner-up Red Jazz went even faster earlier - including a second furlong of 10.75 sec (the fastest of the race) - and can be marked up a bit.
The two most interesting races from a sectional point of view were the G2 Rockfel Stakes and the G3 Autumn Stakes, both for two-year-olds.
The former resulted in the fastest finish of the day (the consequence of a steady early pace) and yet a respectable timefigure of 99. That is usually a winning combination when looking at sectionals, and the signs are that both the winner, Just The Judge, and third, Desert Blossom, should be considered in stronger company.
Trading Leather and Montiridge came clear in the Autumn, both running close to par in sectional terms and recording overall times that were at least respectable.
The closing G3 Darley Stakes win by Mull of Killough saw the runners coming back quicker than par, but not to a degree that could excuse fully the poor overall time. This may not prove to be the most reliable of form.
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