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Timeform Recap - 2017 Naturalism Stakes

Timeform recap the 2017 Naturalism Stakes won by Harlem for Lindsay Park and jockey Dwayne Dunn.

Timeform Recap - 2017 Naturalism Stakes

Timeform recap the 2017 Naturalism Stakes won by Harlem for Lindsay Park and jockey Dwayne Dunn.

Harlem lets rip in the Naturalism.
Harlem lets rip in the Naturalism. Picture:Racing and Sports

With its role as a Caulfield Cup qualifier the Naturalism Stakes is typically one of the most competitive handicaps on the racing calendar but for the second year running it was turned into a bit of a one-act affair by a legitimate Caulfield Cup contender. Last year it was Jameka Horseform, in 2017 it was the highly impressive Harlem Horseform.

The raw time was a point of interest when we recapped the Makybe Diva Stakes last week - which you can read here - and again the overall time is a talking point, with Harlem running the Caulfield 2000m in a very slick 2.00.43 - comfortably the best time in the modern history of the Naturalism and a time bettered just once this century over the course and distance.

With conditions taken into account Harlem's time can be considered a good one


The Caulfield 2000m course is not the domain of duffers either. Competitive handicaps aside it plays host to the Caulfield Stakes, one of the premier 2000m races in the land, and 2:01 has only been broken once in the modern history of that race - in 2002 when Lonhro had to produce a world class performance to take down super mare Sunline.

It should be noted that the best recent winners of the Caulfield Stakes have been in slowly run races with fast closing splits. Winx, Atlantic Jewel and So You Think were all left to zip home off steady early tempos and in all likelihood would blow Harlem off the park - in the case of Winx, she already has.

The horse that bettered Harlem's raw time was the likeable, but ultimately limited, Mick Price-trained mare, Tremezzo. This highlights the folly of putting much weight into raw times, which speak more to the conditions than the ability of the horses, but even with conditions taken into account Harlem's time can be considered a good one.

From a form point of view Harlem is rated 116. Jameka ran to 118 last year en route to Caulfield Cup success. December Draw (ran to 118), Zipping (116) and Inaflury (119) are the others to post similar marks in the Naturalism this century.

116 matches Harlem's French peak, and is a number he produced more than once back at home. Slot him into the Caulfield Cup as it stands and things looks fairly upbeat for Harlem.

Adjusted for his 51kgs Harlem sits on a pre-race rating of 134 for the Caulfield Cup and that has him at the top of those currently heading the betting.

Current favourite Humidor Horseform sits at 133. Bonneval Horseform 130p, Hartnell 130 (can he still get there?!) and Almandin 126+ (that + is almost certainly worth something meaningful).

Harlem was just second up in the Naturalism, so it's not unreasonable to think we will see further improvement with that run under the belt. Harlem finished slightly quicker than par from the 800m and the 600m before levelling out over the last 200m. It was fairly efficient, so improvement is unlikely to be dramatic, but there's enough there to think that he could edge ahead of his 116 rating next time - furthering his Caulfield Cup claims.

Given that solid and efficient tempo the form behind Harlem can be trusted and the Naturalism should provide it's share of coming winners, a view that is strengthened by the time of year - there's plenty of top racing ahead.

Racing And Sports



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