Today’s Scottsville meeting will be the second one run with the potentially handy tool of Sectional Timing. There are many who won’t bother to even look at it, but used properly we believe the numbers can add value to the science of form study and ultimately improve one’s betting strike rate.
It seems that the ST debut at Scottsville on Sunday was very low-key and there has not been any significant feedback from Gold Circle.
For punters, each player will adapt the information to their own template in reaching informed deductions.
A good starting point would be too familiarise oneself with each track’s unique quirks – like Scottsville’s slight uphill over the final 200m of the straight track.
Basic physics tells us that a horse which spends its energy in a non-optimal way will compromise the overall speed at which it gets from A to B.
If the horse goes too fast, it will pay by slowing more later on than it gained by running quickly early; if it goes too slow, it will speed up later but not to a degree which would make up all of the lost ground.
That is not to say, of course, that a horse going quicker or slower than ideal will automatically lose. That depends on many factors, not least the other horses in the race. Those other horses may be running their races even less suitably.
But what we can be sure of is that a horse running its race in a significantly non-optimal way will record a time slower than it otherwise would – disregarding personalised factors like, for example, an aversion to being in front.
The crux of the issue, therefore, is – ‘what is an optimal way of running a given race?’
And ‘what adjustments should we make to the times and speeds of horses which have run in non-optimal ways?’
An evidence-based way to establish the former is to identify how horses run fast times.
These ‘fast times’ can be defined as times which closely reflect the horses’ abilities.
Consideration also needs to be given to how different circumstances can affect optimum figures. In particular, different speeds of surfaces can influence optimum sectionals.
But we will find our way through it as we go!
The Scottsville Wednesday topliner is a modest MR 80 Handicap where a field of fourteen line up to face the starter.
The course and distance specialist Humidor catches the eye as a likely big runner.
The son of Miesque’s Approval ran a very decent fourth at his last start when beaten narrowly by good sorts No Worries and Rabada in the KZN Breeders Million Mile.
He loves this track and trip and with with Anthony Depech replacing Anton Marcus and the blinkers back on, he stands out as a reliable first choice.
Recent form is not a hallmark of the balance but Dennis Drier’s good 4yo Great Expectation has won two of his last three starts and looks to be on the up.
The son of Seventh Rock was obviously regarded as decent as he made the Drier Cape Summer team.
He has proved solid on the poly – he has only won there – but could step up here. That said, he does look held by Humidor on his penultimate start.
His stablemate Firewood seldom runs a bad race and is overdue to win again – include him in all quartets as insurance.
Bagger Vance has improved recently on the polytrack and interestingly won his maiden over 1000m at this track.
He could enjoy going handy from his 1 draw and will be dangerous if getting away from them.
There is not much to get excited about amongst the balance and Humidor really should make it five wins from his eight starts.
He has shown a touch of class and can confirm that again.