Sectional Spotlight

Sectional timing expert Simon Rowlands gives his verdict on eight of the most promising juveniles which raced during the past two weeks.

  • Wednesday 04 September
  • Blog
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It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about promising two-year-olds on these pages, stating that I would revisit the subject after the end of August, but it was fully four weeks ago.

Four weeks can be a long time in horseracing – if not as long as a week in politics it seems – and five of the earlier octet of promising types have run in the interim. The early-August cohort proved to be a mixed bag, which is what was predicted of it to a large degree.

The two-star selections Alpine Star and Cayenne Pepper have both won Group races since, other two-star selections in Abstemious and Persuasion have finished unplaced once each, and the sole one-star selection Ultra Violet has been beaten twice at fairly short odds and confirmed the doubts expressed here about her debut success.

The following are another eight two-year-olds to consider in the weeks and months ahead, some the subject of glowing reports, some not so much.

Promising two-year-olds September


JOVIAL (2 runs, 1 win: Sir Michael Stoute)

Jovial ran at the shortest distance, and showed the highest peak cadence, as well as one of the higher minimum cadences (details courtesy of Total Performance Data: the others are from my own video analysis), of those featured. A half-sister to Jubiloso, she looks a 6f/7f performer, and possibly quite a good one. Her overall time compared well with others on that Yarmouth card, and her TPD sectionals were mustard. Star Quality: 3/5


MOGUL (2 runs, 1 win: Aidan O’Brien)

A brother to Japan among others, Mogul cost £3.4m as a yearling and stepped up from his debut at Gowran to win a maiden at the Curragh by three and a half lengths. He got a rather soft lead up front but was clearly best all the same, and his late splits identify him as useful even if his overall time did not. He strides like a miler at present and should make his mark in Group races without definitely winning one. Star Quality: 2/5

MOLATHAM (2 runs, 1 win: Roger Varian)

Molatham won the Convivial Stakes – the most valuable 2-y-o maiden in Britain – at the York Ebor Meeting in a useful overall time from Celtic Art (who landed the odds at Goodwood on Tuesday). His sectionals were decent, rather than better, in what was an efficiently-run race, but he is already of a calibre close to listed/lower Group level. He has quite a long stride (though it was helped by the firm going) and the cadence most typical of a miler in due course. Star Quality: 2/5  

PALACE PIER (1 run, 1 win: John Gosden)

Cape Palace or Palace Pier? They were introduced on the same day in late-August by John Gosden and both won impressively. My slight preference is for the Sandown Palace version, whose combined overall time and sectionals point to a higher figure of 100. He showed the second-widest cadence range on the list – something which helps with tactical versatility and is a hallmark of many good horses – and could prove best at 7f to 9f. Group races surely beckon. Star Quality: 4/5    

POWERFUL BREEZE (1 run, 1 win: Hugo Palmer)

Powerful Breeze and Royal Crusade won at the same distance on the same card at Newmarket recently. The former was quicker overall and in the closing stages, if not by much. A fairly high maximum cadence and a notably high minimum cadence suggests the Iffraaj filly will not necessarily benefit from a mile just yet. Star Quality: 2/5

ROYAL CRUSADE (1 run. 1 win: Charlie Appleby)

See above. While Royal Crusade’s overall time/late sectionals were not especially impressive, most other aspects of his odds-on debut win were. I had him breaking 11.0s from 3f out to 2f out, which is where he loomed up going well, and his somewhat slow final 1f saw him under little in the way of pressure. That cadence is most typical of a 6f/7f performer, and Royal Crusade has Group 1 entries at both distances. Star Quality: 2/5  

VICTOR LUDORUM (1 run, 1 win: Andre Fabre)

Neither newcomer race at Longchamp on Sunday resulted in a fast overall time, but the colts’ winner, Victor Ludorum, ran some remarkably good late sectionals (including about 21.88s for the last 400m) to come from mid-field to win easily in a race Fabre took with subsequently top-class Waldgeist in 2016. Victor Ludorum should be a Group winner before the year is out, and that cadence (widest range in the list) points to its being most likely at between 7f and 9f. He could be very good. Star Quality: 5/5    

VOLKAN STAR (2 runs, 1 win: Charlie Appleby)

As a £1m yearling, Volkan Star has a lot of paying back to do, but there were elements of his Goodwood Novice win which gave significant grounds for optimism. He had little to beat, but beat them by six lengths and more, and exhibited a notably long stride (helped by an easy section of the course) and slow cadence. The former is associated with ability, and Volkan Star’s sire Sea The Stars had the longest stride I have manually recorded at 28.6 ft (penultimate furlong, 2009 Derby). Volkan Star himself is likely to come into his own at 12f plus as a three-year-old, but a race like the 10f Zetland Stakes could be on the agenda before that. Star Quality: 3/5

Sectional Spotlight
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