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Every year the announcement of the International Classifications and the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings and those of the best races in the world are greeted with close to universal approval and their findings are widely accepted in a non-critical manner.
As the countdown begins towards the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper Stakes, it is an opportune time to look at how the current crop of juveniles compare to previous years.
In some quarters there is a perception that the current crop of juveniles is below the level of previous seasons, however our Timeform ratings analysis reveals they are far from the worst crop we have seen in the last six seasons.
Champion mare Winx broke a number of records with an astonishing victory in Saturday’s group one Cox Plate at Moonee Valley
Not only did she become just the 10th horse since the Cox Plate was first run in 1922 to win the race back to back but importantly she joined the great Sunline as the only mares to have achieved the task in 94 years.
Sectional analysis of Rosehill Gardens Saturday August 13 which features the 2016 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes
Star Turn was able to run the second fastest final 600m and 200m of the day when taking out the feature Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Sectional analysis of the Missile Stakes programme at Randwick on August 6
Five of the nine winners led the final 600m with with placegetters Rebel Dane and Mount Nebo running the fastest final 600m and 200m respectively in the feature Missile Stakes (37.44/13.01).
This week I will finish off the factors I consider when assessing the fitness of a horse resuming from a spell.
I have covered quite a few areas in this discussion but as I said at the beginning of the series, assessing thoroughbred fitness, especially when resuming from a break, remains one of the most difficult aspects of form analysis.
Esteban was among the most impressive winners of the day at Rosehill on Saturday when claiming a seven length victory in the Benchmark 73 Handicap over 2000m.
Running 35.40/12.14 after leading throughout, the John Sergeant-trained runner was able to sustain a solid pace throughout the 2000m and certainly looks one to follow going forward.
Only three runners broke 36 seconds for the final 600m at Rosehill on Saturday which saw all nine races run on a heavy 10 track.
Harlem Lady who ran on strongly from back in the field to finish second behind Kellyville Flyer ran the fastest final 600m and 200m of the day (35.34/12.03) after she was slow to begin.
The number one Thoroughbred racing handicapper in the world has asked for a “please explain” from France Galop in the wake of the supposed 10 length victory by Japanese raider A Shin Hikari in last week’s Prix d’Ispahan (1800m) at Chantilly
Nigel Gray, chairman of handicappers at the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, has written to his colleague in France seeking a clarification on the winning margin in the early-season Group One, with video evidence strongly suggesting A Shin Hikari didn’t win by 10 lengths at all.
While the major Royal Ascot sprint prizes have been rich pickings for Australians in recent years, the 2016 assault force from down under looks to be rapidly diminishing, with the likely line-up taking a number of twists and turns in the past fortnight.
At the same time, America’s hand via regular Royal Ascot visiting (and winning) trainer Wesley Ward looks to be gathering momentum.
The task for the thoroughbred form analyst to accurately assess the pre-race fitness level of a horse involves several elements.
Of course assessing fitness does not only involve looking at horses first up from spell – there are other cases to examine such as a horse’s form cycle and racing patterns not to mention those making their race debut.
On pace was the place to be at Rosehill on Saturday with many leaders throughout the day winning races.
One however who came from back in the field was Sir Bacchus who settled eighth in the run, coming home in a very quick 33.45/11.67 to score his second win in as many starts this campaign.
As I eluded to in my opening article in this series there are certain core factors that are always part of my process when doing the form and finding winners.
In my experience, I have found like most things in life, the more effort you devote to analysing the form, the better you will become and importantly be a consistent winner.
On speed looked the place to be at Rosehill on Saturday with only the three last winners not having led at the 200m as shown by the sectional analysis
Sir Bacchus produced an outstanding turn of foot to claim victory in the opening race, running the fastest last 600m of the day along with the second fastest last 200m (32.97/10.98).
Despite not clocking the fastest closing 600m or 200m English still managed to grab victory in the 2016 Group 1 All Aged Stakes.
Settling back in the field last, Kermadec ran the fastest last 600m with Black Heart Bart getting to the line well for the fastest final 200m.
From the moment Winx stormed away with the Cox Plate comparisons between her and Sunline were inevitable but now at the end of her Autumn 4YO campaign, More Joyous, Atlantic Jewel and even Emancipation can be drawn into the comparison mix.
Comparing any of those mares to Sunline’s complete body or work is unfair - Sunline’s longevity saw her amass a mighty CV over six seasons.
The passing of iconic racing figure, “Cups King” Bart Cummings on Sunday 30th August 2015 aged 87, ends an era in Australian racing, the like of which we will never experience again.
Bart Cummings was synonymous with Australia’s most famous race – the Melbourne Cup – winning it an amazing twelve times, a feat that will never be equalled.
With the 2014-15 Racing Season now consigned to the history books it is time to reflect on the calibre of the three-year-old crop and what might lie ahead as they move into the older horse ranks.
Depending on what KPI is used there is more than one measure by which each season’s crop can be assessed.
Saturday’s 36th renewal of the group three San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill presents as a puzzling exercise for punters trying to find the winner.
This is especially so if relying solely on the previous season’s Golden Slipper winner as having a mortgage on the race.
Insightful comment and analysis by leading industry correspondents
See where the money is going for the upcoming feature races.