Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Racehorses are getting quicker and quicker !




Racehorses are continuing to get quicker, a study of winning times spanning 165 years of racing indicates.
This may come as a surprise to many in the racing industry who believe that racehorse speed has reached its limit.
But researchers say more work is required to determine whether the increased speeds are due to breeding techniques or changes in training and riding techniques.
The study has been published in The Royal Society Journal Proceedings B.
Previous studies had shown that racehorse speeds had not increased since 1950.
Many in the race horse industry had concluded that thoroughbreds might have reached the limits of their speed.
This raised the question as to whether it was worth horse owners paying large amounts of money to stud farms aiming to breed future winners.

Sprint races

So Patrick Sharman, a PhD student at Exeter University and race enthusiast, decided to take a closer look. He found that previous studies were not comprehensive.
They only analysed the winning time of a small number of races. These studies included middle distance (8 to 12 furlongs) and long distance (14 to 20 furlongs) races, but excluded sprints (5 to 7 furlongs).
Mr Sharman analysed the times from every single so-called elite race involving the very fastest horses between 1850 and 2012, and also included all race meetings since 1997.
He found that there had been little improvement in speeds between 1910 and 1975. But since then there has been a steady improvement in sprint races.
The average winning time for a six-furlong race over the past 15 years has been cut by more than a second - which is a huge amount by sprint standards. A modern day horse would beat a horse from the early 90s by seven horse lengths.
However, there was little, if any, improvement at middle and longer distances.

Speed over endurance?

Mr Sharman says that this could be due to the fact that horses are being bred for speed rather than endurance. If that is the case, then speeds at middle and long distances could also be improved if breeders changed their methods.
The improvement could be explained by a change in riding techniques since the 1970s - with jockeys adopting Lester Piggott's style of riding with shortened stirrups or improved training methods.
But Mr Sharman wonders why there has been no improvement in the longer distances.
"My hunch is that we are seeing a genetic change, with breeders focusing on speed rather than endurance," he told BBC News.
"I don't believe that over the longer distances horses have reached their limit."

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Wokingham and Diamond Jubilee



Well I get the chance to go to Royal Ascot tomorrow as I have a share in Tatlisu in the Wokingham. He has been well supported since Ryan Moore, who rides him, has had all his winners - but in truth he is probably shorter in the betting than he deserves to be and his price is probably more about the jockey. That said he has blinkers on for the first time so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he will improve again on what he has shown to date and if that was the case he wouldn't be far away as he goes on any ground and heavy rain is supposedly due in the area tomorrow.
The draw is an unknown factor if the going changes - it seems to have favoured those drawn low more than those drawn high so far but that may change.
I like the look of both Huntsmans Close and Gamesome and I hope Tatlisu can get in the frame too.

The Diamond Jubilee sees an International field with Ireland, Australia and USA making up over half the runners. The home team may be up against it and Tropics looks the pick. In truth the race looks an easy Group 1 to win as it seems to be low on quality and it will be interesting to see how the time of this race works out - particularly if the going stays as it is.
Aiden O'Brien has his team in top form and the stable cat could run well if it came over so Due Dilligence could go very well for Ryan Moore as he travels and stays well.

No selections as I will just be having a watching brief - if you want to have a look at the big race facts they are available on the link above for both races.

Good Luck !
 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Kings Stand Stakes - Royal Ascot Day 1



It looks like we are in for a feast of racing all week at Royal Ascot and the first big sprint is the Kings Stand Stakes.
The going is Good, Good to Firm in places. (GoingStick: Standside: 8.5, Centre: 8.3, Farside: 8.5, Round 8.1 on Tuesday at 08:15).The Fav is Sole Power as he seeks a record breaking third win in the race. He faces 18 rivals from over the globe in this fascinating Group 1 sprint.
For me this race is between Mecca's Angel, Sole Power, G Force, Muthmir, Goldream and Steps is good ew value at 50/1 as like Sole Power he finishes well off a fast pace.
Paddy Power himself thinks Sole Power is a good bet today and the best price you can get this am is 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Goldream is good value too at 28/1 as he will like the going today and Robert Cowell hasn't sent many to Royal Ascot and he has to be respected in these big sprints.
The going is a slight concern for Mecca's Angel but the time of her race at Longchamp last time out was 55.24 which shows as always a dodgy going description at that track. She possesses plenty of natural speed being by Dark Angel and when winning at Longchamp she had a poor draw but still won going away by two lengths and she may set too hard a test for Sole Power to claw back and she is my idea of the winner.

Facts and Figures :
History : First run in 1860 as the The Queens Stand Stakes/Plate over the 2 year old course of about 6f. The distance was reduced to 5f in 1907 with the name of the race having changed to The Kings Stand Stakes in 1901.

Draw Record last 7 years :

2014 : 8, 4, 11, 10 (16 ran) Good - Richard Hughes 58.85s

2013 : 14, 5, 10, 6 (19 ran) Good - Johnny Murtagh

2012 : 7, 8, 22, 3 (22 ran) Good to Soft

2011 : 14, 18, 10, 15 (19 ran) Good

2010 : 11, 4, 3, 5 (12 ran) Good

2009 : 1, 15, 14, 9 (15 ran) Good to Firm

2008 : 11, 9, 12, 1 (13 ran) Good to Firm

Age of past Winner - 7, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 3

Previous Results :

2014 : 1st Sole Power, 2nd Stepper Point, 3rd Hot Streak, 4th Medicean Man

2013 : 1st Sole Power, 2nd Shea Shea, 3rd Pearl Secret, 4th Jack Dexter

2012 : 1st Little Bridge, 2nd Bated Breath, 3rd Sole Power, 4th Medicean Man

2011 : 1st Prohibit, 2nd Star Witness, 3rd Sweet Sanette, 4th Overdose

2010 : 1st Equiano, 2nd Markab, 3rd Borderlescott, 4th Nicconi

2014 Racing Post Analysis-
A wide-open Group 1 sprint, as if often the case these days, and they were spread across the track.
For a second consecutive year, SOLE POWER´s irresistible late burst proved too much for his rivals, travelling supremely well under new rider Richard Hughes, who weaved his way through the field. Having been switched right, he ended up near the far rail and he fairly flew home to win readily. Although now a 7yo he´s at the very top of his game and can return in 2015 in a bid to complete a hat-trick in the race, granted similarly quick ground.

Trainers Comments :

Sole Power - Eddie Lynam told At The Races: "I'm very happy with him. He's in a real good place and I'm looking forward to him. This is his fifth Royal Ascot, which is unusual. He's won the last twice and was placed in it and he was down the field in it, but he's carried us for years. He's a great horse.He hadn't run for a while so his last run blew the cobwebs away. He needed a run to get him back in order.Richard (Hughes) was happy and the way the horse has been training, recently especially, I think he's right now and he's ready to go."

Shamal Wind - R Smerdon said: "She's a very flexible mare and we wouldn't be worried if the ground was very soft or very fast. It's going to a tough race, but our horses have done well in this race before and I think she'll go pretty well. It's great to be involved and great to have a horse good enough to run at Ascot. Her win in the Oakleigh was typical of her style in that she is a run-on sprinter. She has an explosive burst, but you have to time it exactly right and she has been narrowly beaten in races. She is a tricky ride."

Muthmir,- Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan, said: "I don't think he'll have any trouble holding him over five furlongs at Ascot and he's exciting. Whether he can beat Sole Power is another matter, but he's a horse we're looking forward to. I don't think he'll be outclassed, as long as we can get him into it in the right way, get a lead and produce him late. Sole Power is an incredibly impressive sprinter and there's obviously others in there as well, but I think our horse deserves to take his chance."

William Haggas is bullish he may be able to dethrone Sole Power in the Group 1 sprint - "He’s taking on the best sprinter that there’s been for a while but he’s got a lot of things in his favour. He’s got a good turn of foot and I think the track, the trip and the fast ground will suit him. He’s got a nice draw and he’s very well."

Mecca's Angel - Michael Dods said: "Mecca's Angel is a very straightforward filly who did it very well in France last time when she quickened again off a strong pace and was quite impressive. This will be her sternest test yet, but I believe she has come on for that last run and deserves to take her chance.She has won on an uphill track before and she will probably jump and sit but she could lead if she has to lead. She is a better filly on genuinely good or good to soft ground so I hope they put plenty of water on - I will walk it on Tuesday morning just to check it's all right. Winning any race is a great feeling and makes all the hard work worthwhile but a race like the King's Stand is what we are aiming at as we want to compete with the best and show it is possible to train good horses up here in the North. If we were to win it would mean a hell of a lot to the whole operation - to my staff, to Paul (Mulrennan, jockey) and to the owners. Royal Ascot only happens once a year so you have to enjoy it, it's a massive occasion."

Stepper Point, - William Muir said: "Stepper Point just ripped a shoe off coming out of the stalls at Chantilly. He looked like a teddy bear in his coat before his last run, but he his just starting to show his summer coat now. He is in great shape and he really comes alive at this time of year."

Steps - Roger Varian said: "He ran a good race in the 'Dash' and he was only beaten two and a half lengths at Ascot last year. He is in super form and although I can't see him winning it, he has a good chance of being in the first four or five."

Friday, 12 June 2015

888sport Charity Sprint (Handicap)



Trainers Comments

Martyn Meade told At The Races about Scalzo : "I'm very pleased and obviously the horse has shown his ability and to actually be able to have an owner like this in the yard is enormously exciting. After the Haydock run it was not in our minds to sell the horse, but the opportunity to train for that particular owner made it a no-brainer. What we have to do is produce the goods.Running him in the big sprint handicap at York, we can gauge how good he is and then hopefully introduce him into Group class after that."

Henry Candy says of Twilight Sun: "He's in very good form. I'm happy with the draw (seven) and the ground. This has been his target since his win at Newmarket and I think he's ready to run a good race."

Sam Hoskins, representative of Magical Memory said: "It was a good win last time out and I think we've found the right tactics now, he needs holding up. He should run well but even though we get a bit of a pull at the weights with Twilight Son, I think he'll be tough to beat - he looks a Group horse in a handicap to me. It's a 20-runner handicap, though, so anything could happen, and with such good money on offer we'd be mad not to take our chance. I just hope they don't get lots of rain as he wouldn't want it very soft. Otherwise, he's going there with a good each-way chance I think."

Karl Burke commented re Explosive Lady "I was very pleased with how she ran at Haydock because I warned that she'd need the run and I feel she's really sharpened up for it. We're hoping for a good run off 95 because I feel she's a good bit better than that. She might need to be because Henry Candy's horse and three or four others look big dangers, it's very competitive. If I'm right, though, I still think she's well handicapped."

Richard Fahey has three runners in the race and comments as follows "Grandad’s World has been disappointing but we’ve gelded him since his last run. That will hopefully help him because he’s always been talented and worked well this week. I hope he can improve but this is very competitive. Bonds Girl is in no man’s land a little. She had a fantastic season last year and if she came back to her best she’d have a chance but she’s not very big. It’s not a case of her having not trained on but the worry is have the others strengthened and caught her up? She couldn’t be in better order though. Sarista got very upset in the stalls on her only previous run for us and we have been doing a lot of work with her since. She came here with a tall reputation but the main thing is for us to get her behaving properly at the start and see if she can run her race.

Race History :
Draw Record last 7 years :
2014 - 12, 5, 6, 16 (20 ran) Good, Good to firm in places - David Allan 1m 12.03s
2013 - 14, 9, 16, 3 (19 ran) Good to Firm - Duran Fentiman
2012 - 4, 12, 9, 17 (17 ran) Soft
2011 - 18, 16, 2, 15 (20 ran) Good
2010 - 5, 3, 19, 11 (20 ran) Good
2009 - 2, 6, 19, 4 (20 ran) Good
2008 - 8, 4, 17, 18 (19 ran) Good

Weight of Winner : 8-7, 8-11, 8-9, 8-11, 8-7, 9-1, 9-0,

Result :
2014 : 1st See The Sun, 2nd Naadir, 3rd Kickboxer, 4th Gamesome
2013 : 1st Body And Soul, 2nd Moviesta, 3rd Barracouda Boy, 4th Heaven's Guest
2012 : 1st Sholaan, 2nd Gabriel's Lad, 3rd Glen Moss, 4th Boris Grigoriev
2011 : 1st Lexi's Hero, 2nd Cocktail Charlie, 3rd Acclamazing, 4th Swiss Dream
2010 : 1st Victoire De Lyphar, 2nd Iver Bridge Lad, 3rd Singeur, 4th Pastoral Player
2009 : 1st Swiss Diva, 2nd Parisian Pyramid, 3rd Favourite Girl, 4th Rowayton
2008 : 1st Brave Prospector, 2nd Victorian Bounty, 3rd Ancien Regime, 4th Good Gorsoon

Tim Easterby has had 4 wins in the last 12 years.

2014 Racing Post Analysis
The ground continued to dry out and was now good to firm.
This traditionally hot 3yo sprint handicap looked well up to scratch this year and although it was another case of the winner making just about all, the form still has a solid look to it and plenty of winners will come out of this. The main action unfolded up the centre of the track. SEE THE SUN, back up to 6f and from a yard with a decent record in this contest, showed plenty of speed up the centre of the track and although he appeared to be paddling inside the last furlong and looked sure to be swallowed up, he found a bit more and just managed to hold on. On this evidence a return to 5f wouldn't bother him, but he gets this trip well and there should be more decent races to be won with him.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Investec Corporate Banking Dash - Class 2 Heritage Handicap



The stalls are situated on the stands side for the 5f races, high numbers are nearest the rail.

The Draw as you will look at them is therefore as follows with their usual running style described:
  1 Desert Law - Prominent
  2 Smoothtalkinrascal - Prominent
  3 Monumental Man 8.8 - Leads/Pace
  4 Chiclet - Prominent
  5 Steps - Held Up
  6 Secret Missile - Held Up
  7 Monsieur Joe - Held Up
  8 Normal Equilibrium - Midfield
  9 Pearl Acclaim - Prominent
10 Burning Thread - Held Up
11 Seeking Magic - Held Up
12 Humidor - Midfield
13 Free Zone - Prominent
14 Caspian Prince 9.10 - Prominent
15 Duke Of Firenze 9.3 - Prominent
16 Perfect Muse - Held Up
17 Confessional - Prominent
18 Boom The Groom - Prominent
19 Barnet Fair - Held Up
20 Silvanus - Prominent

Some of the main contenders are as follows :

Monumental Man a C&D winner on his two previous starts at this track, looked better than ever here last time out, the race was set up perfectly for his strengths, he bagged the rail and was soon bowling along disputing lead, went on outright 2f out and drew clear inside final 1f for a convincing success by 3 3/4 lengths. Although up 12lb in the handicap ratings he actually carries 3lb less in weight than he did for his latest C&D win - so theoretically there is no reason to suppose his time will be any slower. His time for that race was 0.38secs faster than last years winning time in this race. He is drawn in stall 3 which could be a negative, but Stone Of Folca broke the world record for 5f from stall 2 so hopefully it will not be too much of a hindrance to his chances. In any event he would appear to be, on paper, the confirmed front runner in the field of runners so he should be able to go where he wants.

Steps (IRE) ran without his usual headgear at Newbury and looked rusty after 6 months off, the run sure to bring him on, and he does have an excellent record second time out in a season (has won in 3 of last 4 years); slowly into stride, never going pace, held when short of room briefly final 1f, not unduly punished. In this race last season he was counted as an unlucky loser as he missed the break and then finished fast to go down by just three quarters of a length in 4th. He is one pound lower in the handicap ratings this time and is drawn further towards the middle of the track.

Seeking Magic probably needed run after 6 months off last time out at Newmarket. He finished second in this race last season from a 4 lb higher mark having contested the same Newmarket race previously and his stable also run Perfect Muse. He is drawn in the middle in stall 11 and he is another who could easily have won last year granted some better luck.

Perfect Muse progressed well in 2014 and is open to improvement. Put down a good marker for this at Goodwood behind Humidor recently, just lacking the wherewithal to quicken at the crucial stage, but going on well at the end. Cam Hardie was booked early to claim a useful 3lbs and she is drawn more towards the rail in stall 16.

Chiclet (IRE) completed hat-trick in Ireland, the latest at being at Dundalk on the All Weather surface where she was close up, travelled strongly, led on bridle over 1f out, quickened clear soon after to record an impressive victory. The trainer nominated this as her next port of call although I'm not sure she has shown enough speed for a race of this nature but she is open to further improvement. She is drawn in stall 4 so will be able to follow the pace set by Monumental Man.

Barnet Fair looks close to hitting top form for his trainer who has a very good record in this race. He finished 6th in the race last season from a 1lb lower mark. He warmed up for this with a 6th at Thirsk under Franny Norton and Kieren Fox rides today. One big plus in his favour is the draw, he was drawn in stall 1 last year whereas this time he is 19 so I would imagine he will be able to do better than his 6th last year.

Desert Law (IRE)has shown some good from this season and it shows that he's competitively handicapped again, so he's one to bear in mind as he has form in the race, albeit 3 years ago, when 2nd to Spirit Of Folca, beaten half a length from stall 16 after travelling well. He is 8lb lower in the handicap ratings now but he has to cope with stall 1 so he may not get much cover.

Caspian Prince last years winner is now 11lbs higher and is 12bs worse off with Seeking Magic for winning by a head. He is drawn in stall 14, the same stall from which he won last season. He has been competing at a higher level since and he evidently still possesses speed. Weight in 5f races does not have as much bearing as weight in for instance in 1m 4f races as the weight carried is done so for less time and therefore there probably wont be much between him and Seeking Magic again at the line.

Facts and Figures
Draw Positions of previous winners and placed horses
2014 - 14, 17, 12, 13 (19 ran) Good - Adam Kirby 54.75s
2013 - 19, 1, 5, 13 (17 ran) Good - 55.22s
2012 - 2, 16, 15, 3 (20 ran) Good to Firm - 53.69s (World Record)
2011 - 9, 13, 10, 1 (16) Good to Firm - 54.30s
2010 - 15, 14, 16, 9 (19) Good to Firm - 54.22s
2009 - 18, 12, 11, 1 (18) Good to Firm - 54.67s
2008 - 8, 19, 12, 17 (19) Good - 55.33s
Age of Winner - 5, 4, 4, 6, 6, 9, 6
Previous Results :
2014 : 1st Caspian Prince, 2nd Seeking Magic, 3rd Addictive Dream, 4th Steps
2013 : 1st Duke Of Firenze, 2nd Smoothtalkinrascal, 3rd Dinkum Diamond, 4th Fair Value
2012 : 1st Stone of Folca, 2nd Desert Law, 3rd Catfish, 4th Taajub
2011 : 1st Captain Dunne, 2nd Confessional, 3rd La Fortunata, 4th Sohraab
2010 : 1st Bertoliver, 2nd Hawkeyethenoo, 3rd Rocket Bob, 4th Judge N'Jury
2014 Racing Post Analysis :
This was always going to be fast and furious and the second and fourth will feel they could have won on another day. Surprisingly, though, there was very little trouble in behind.
CASPIAN PRINCE, 7lb higher than when readily making all the running over C&D earlier in the season, repeated the trick in what was a much more competitive race, soon being in front near the stands´ rail and, having battled back after the third edged ahead of him, just held on. He clearly loves a fast 5f.

Course and Distance winners, their best times, actual weight carried and going :
Caspian Prince - 54.75s  9.0 - Good
Duke Of Firenze - 55.22s 9.0 - Good
Monumental Man - 54.37s 8.11 - Good To Firm

First Time Tongue Strap - Boom The Groom and Smoothtalkinrascal.

Selection : Monumental Man @ 12/1