After a short hiatus where, in truth, not much of note was happening across the courses our sectional data covers, Clock Watcher is back. In this week's instalment, I'll share the top performer in his Newcastle seven furlong peer group; a win machine who arguably ran her best race in recent defeat; and the first in a new sub-feature, Pick of the Pile, where we look at the top sectional performers over a specific course and distance.
Sanaadh a King of the Sand
We start with the outstanding performance of the week from a combo (time figure plus upgrade) perspective, that of Michael Wigham's Sanaadh in a valuable Class 2 handicap on Newcastle's straight track. The image below shows Sanaadh's performance (red line) against par (black line), with more detail in the result table beneath the graph. Waited with early, Sanaadh was a nine length last at the first call (five furlongs from home) and was still only 11th of 14 with a quarter mile to run; but from there he quickened up smartly - last two furlongs in 22.73 seconds - to record a narrow neck verdict.
Topspeed awarded him a rating of 77 to which a sectional upgrade of 18 is added (see right hand column in the results table), for a combo figure of 95. That is, by some margin, the biggest time/upgrade figure we've seen over Newcastle's seven furlong piste since TPD started tracking there 285 7f races ago.
Sanaadh's overall all-weather profile is rock solid but he looks a better horse on the straight track at Gosforth Park, where his record reads 141, the '4' being when given too much to do.
That's the nature of his hold up run style so there is always the chance of a frustrating 'should have won' effort; but there's little doubt about Sanaadh's ability. He's one to follow.
In his other all weather runs, he hung left at Wolverhampton on his sole try there, and was pulled up at Lingfield on his only spin there. He did also win at Kempton, so it might be that he just doesn't want to go left-handed - I'd be prepared to take that chance if he rocked up at Sunbury in the near future.
Agent Due More Fortune?
When Christine Dunnett sent her then four-year-old mare, Agent Of Fortune, to the Newmarket Autumn Sales she must have felt that there was nothing more to be gained from the three-time winner of the previous year.
Nobody turned a hair as Gary Moore's hand waved the winning bid at a lowly 3,000 guineas, and six weeks later the 50-rated Agent lined up in a Classified Stakes at Lingfield for which she was sent off 7/4. Clearly the vibes were good - not 'arf - as that was the first leg of a December hat-trick.
January's five runs yielded another three wins, and February has added one further victory to the score sheet. With a remarkable seven wins on the board, and now rated 83, it would be reasonable to assume that Agent Of Fortune's winning has come to an end. But in fact there is an argument that her most recent spin, when third to Crimewave over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield, was her best yet.
Bred for a mile, this was her first attempt at a longer distance and she was ridden to get the trip, finishing with gusto to be a length and a quarter behind the winner. The image below shows the respective furlong-by-furlong distance behind the leader of the winner (Crimewave, red line) and Agent Of Fortune (violet line) and needs little explanation.
Her 22 upgrade figure is added to a Topspeed rating of 54 for a composite 76. Most effective when patiently ridden, she is drawn 10 of 14 tonight up in class and it might be that she has to wait until Saturday and an engagement at Lingfield before returning to winning ways if lining up there as well.
Regardless of tonight or Saturday or another day, it will be a shock to me if Agent Of Fortune doesn't add to her seven wins already this winter before the spring arrives. What a remarkable buy!
Pick of the Pile: Lingfield AW 6f
In the first of a new mini-feature, Pick of the Pile looks at the sectional/time ratings of all runners over a give course and distance. We start with the six furlong range at Lingfield, where the best performance was recorded in the 2017 All Weather Championships 3yo Conditions Stakes.
The William Haggas-trained Second Thought won six of his seven all weather starts, beaten only on his final run when narrowly failing to double his AW Finals tally, placing second over a mile.
The son of Kodiac came from a long way back in that 3yo Championship race, leaving those contesting a fast early pace (see top colour line for the race speed) and rattling past his rivals in the final furlong where he made up 3 1/2 lengths and five places.
The most noteworthy recent performance at this track and trip was produced by Harry's Bar, who quickened well off fair fractions on 15th February in a race which will become infamous for the very sad demise of the talented and extremely likeable Kachy. Harry is a tough and consistent all weather sprinter, his form string off turf reading 23111323131.
The Proximity Form column (Px) shows just how consistent with every dot being a green one. (For more on Proximity Form, check out page 40 in the latest version of the User Guide)
That's all for this edition of Clock Watcher. Tune in next week for more meritorious performances and sectional insights. In the meantime, if you've any questions, please do add a comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you.