Sectional Spotlight

    Sectional timing expert Simon Rowlands has analysed the stride of Glendevon - a smart 2yo trained by Richard Hughes - highlighted a trio of horses that have recently caught the eye on the clock and shortlisted his selections for Newcastle and Uttoxeter on Thursday.
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Blog

I don’t usually bother much with the opinions of jockeys and trainers – admittedly, some are more worthwhile than others – but was drawn to the Richard Hughes column in last Saturday’s Racing Post, in which he waxed lyrically about a two-year-old he trained called GLENDEVON.

The colt had impressed greatly on manual sectionals on his debut at Kempton and had returned there on 11 October to win easily at odds on. Hughes reckons Glendevon is the real deal, and, while the splits this time show he raced pretty efficiently, his timefigure improved and he looked a class apart.

Glendevon is also a real eye-catcher in another sense. As Hughes says: “visually, he has a big lolloping action. He covers a lot of ground, but he covers it very quickly.”

My instinct if someone states something as fact like that is to check if it is true, if possible. This has been a preoccupation of mine since before US Presidents and others simply started making things up!

Using video-editing software, it is possible to ascertain how long a horse’s stride is and how quickly it turns it over: the two together give a horse’s speed.

Glendevon’s stride reached a maximum of 25.1 feet in the closing stages last week, and was longer at the end of the race than earlier. This is, indeed, remarkable for a horse at his stage, though it is still some way behind the likes of Frankel (an astonishing 27.3 feet in the 2011 Sussex Stakes) and Cracksman (26.1 feet in this year’s Great Voltigeur). No disgrace in that!

It seems that longer strides and slower cadences (Glendevon turned over his stride at a fairly ordinary 2.3 times a second) tend to be associated with horses who stay quite well. Despite a free-going nature and being a son of Scat Daddy, Glendevon promises to be better still at a mile.

The good news is that racing enthusiasts should have striding information put on a plate for them before long by Total Performance Data, with the results showcased on this site.

It will be fascinating to find out for sure what patterns are revealed. And it will be fascinating to see just how far the long-striding Glendevon manages to go. 


There is no need to spend significant time and effort establishing manual sectionals at courses covered by TPD, for that organisation’s GPS-based sectionals can be found on this site. Three horses jump out from recent activity as being worth a second look on those.
LADY IN QUESTION got behind in a messy race at Lingfield on 05 October before flying at the finish to get third, including a very fast 11.1s for the penultimate furlong. A winner at Thirsk and Carlisle previously, Lady In Question is at least as good on tapeta/polytrack as turf and may well have another win in her before long.

SINGULAR QUEST failed to do the business for us at Wolverhampton on 07 October but again shaped well, and is worth persevering with. This was a slow-early/fast-late contest – as illustrated graphically by ATR’s colour-coding of the sectionals for the race – and Singular Quest got caught out when the pace finally increased before finishing well for a close third.

The David Simcock-trained COME ON TIER put up one of the most promising two-year-old debuts of late by my reckoning at Windsor on 09 October, and the sectionals very much support taking a positive view. The son of Kendargent got carried back in last on the turn due to traffic but stormed home for third, registering the fastest or joint-fastest splits in the race for each of the last four furlongs.

This was a modest contest, in which the slow mid-race pace led to a poor timefigure, but Come On Tier could easily come on a lot for this experience. The performance is worth a watch on the ATR video archive. 


The effect of pace on performance applies across the spectrum of abilities, from the stars who will be on show at British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday to the most undistinguished of handicappers.

The 8.45 at Newcastle on Thursday is much nearer the latter than the former, but the prospect of a strong pace for this 6f contest makes me think that SEARANGER may come good again. The gelding is pretty consistent but has managed to win only sellers this year.
However, he is on a workable mark now, has form on this surface, and could well be able to pick off his more forwardly-ridden rivals late in the day. An each-way play is advised.

Uttoxeter is the venue for the hurdling debut of CAUSE TOUJOURS in the 2.55, in which his opposition does not look too frightening. He ran a fast time when winning a bumper at Warwick on his debut then travelled well for a long way in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.

Times and sectionals suggest he could be one of the best recruits to novice hurdling this season.

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