One of the pleasures of this part of the British and Irish flat season is that, while the main events are spaced out to a degree that leads the enthusiast to kicking his or her heels at times, the apparently quiet days in between are sometimes trodden by horses whose tilt at the big time may be only a bit further down the road.
For instance, Monday of this week seemed unexceptional in almost every respect, but there were three two-year-old winners who might just be destined for bigger things. I thought I would take a look at each of the three from a sectional and striding point of view.
TURGENEV made the biggest splash when winning a novice by six lengths at Newcastle, a venue which means that those figures are provided courtesy of Total Performance Data. The “stride” and “cadence” figures are for the last 2f only, so as to make for ready comparison.
Now, I am not in a rush to damn with faint praise a blue-blooded winner in impressive fashion, hailing from a top stable (John Gosden’s), but there are reasons to keep our feet on the ground in this instance.
In terms of overall times, Turgenev’s was the slowest of three at a mile on the card, albeit not by much. While the other two such races were won by older horses, they were poor handicappers, running off BHA marks of 46 and 54. Turgenev’s time in context is nothing out of the ordinary.
And nor are his sectionals, which indicate a finish that was quicker than par (on a course with a fairly stiff finish), but not by a great deal. There is a definite chance that Turgenev’s rivals on the day amounted to little.
In addition, those striding figures – particularly that turnover of 2.42 strides/second (and it was higher than that earlier in the race) – are typical of a horse who may not improve much if at all for trips beyond a mile, though you would fancy him to get 10f on breeding.
Race replay: Turgenev wins by 6 lengths at Newcastle on Monday.
It could at least be argued that the debut win of EAST at Hamilton earlier on Monday promised more. A daughter of Frankel, she had fetched 315,000 Euros at Goresbridge Sales, where she did one of the best breezes and revealed a peak stride of 23.8 feet. The fact that her stride at Hamilton was shorter is in no small part a function of the uphill finish and the soft ground.
East’s winning time was easily fastest of three at 6f on the card (the other two were again poor older handicappers) and that finishing speed % shows that her race was strongly-run for the conditions earlier.
Her breeding and cadence point to her perhaps being best at 7f/8f, though it is early days. There should be little doubt that the Kevin Ryan inmate was a superior juvenile winner for the track.
ALEXA ROSE may be the least exciting of the three to date, but it was still a fairly useful effort from her to win a novice by clear margins in a time fractionally quicker than the other division, showing a stride slightly shorter than the 24.0 feet she had showcased at the Doncaster Breeze-Ups.
Her sire, Distorted Humor, was a miler but her dam stayed 12f and Alexa Rose’s cadence encourages one to believe that at least 10f will be within her scope.
So, a promising trio, but perhaps not containing a real star of the future. But one or two of those are likely to be along shortly, maybe when and where they might be little expected.
Keep your eyes peeled, especially at tracks at which TPD striding and sectional figures are available and displayed elsewhere on this site.
I do not doubt that some promising two-year-olds will emerge over the three days of the Newmarket meeting which starts on Thursday, but I am prepared to let that happen rather than try to predict it in this instance.
A surer bet from a sectional point of view is MAIN EDITION in the Shadwell Rockfel Stakes on Friday at 3:00. She won four of her first five races and ran considerably better than the result in Ireland last time, when she was asked to force an overly-strong pace in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.
It is to Main Edition’s credit that she hung on to finish fifth, two places ahead of Just Wonderful, who reopposes here but had no such excuse on that occasion. Main Edition’s defeat of La Pelosa at Royal Ascot and on the Newmarket July course looks all the better after that one won a Grade 1 in Canada recently.
There also looks to be a decent opening for STAR ROCK in the preceding Princess Royal Nayef Stakes at 2:25. She is at least the equal of Mrs Sippy and Crimson Rosette, and clearly superior to others so far, and her recent head second in a Group 2 at Baden-Baden confirmed her well-being yet may be undervalued by partisan punters.