The following article, and those to follow, will focus on a race from the weekend just gone that, for reasons of time, should be of interest to punters. We're not necessarily going to find the fastest time of the weekend but rather look for a race that has returned a good time that may be overlooked or undersold - or, barring that, at least throw up something interesting to consider.
Time, like all racing variables, is only meaningful when put into context and for the purpose of this series of articles we will do that by referring to times as a variable-inclusive time rating - variables being course, distance, going/conditions, weight-for-age, and the all important and often overlooked expected ability of the horses being measured.
This time rating is on the Timeform scale, and to give context to this context-giving number we can consider that Winx's career best, produced when winning her second Cox Plate, is 132. So that's in the extremes of fast. Top sprinters Redzel and Vega Magic have fastest times this spring of 119 apiece. So that's at a very high level. And this weekend Black Heart Bart produced the best time anywhere in the country, all variables considered, with his second in the Railway Handicap over in Perth returning a time rating of 109. So that's very good. For context at the other end of the scale, the best figure out of Saturday's meeting on the sands of Gympie was a 60 produced by Master Denhro.
For this weeks 'Squeeze of Time' we are going to focus on the three-year-old handicap won by Magnufighter at Doomben which produced a time that looks okay at first glance but is quite a good one all things considered.
Magnufighter's time figure on Saturday was 98. It's worth mentioning at this point that one major variable not considered in these time figures is pace/tempo. Time is really a function of pace and time ratings are not particularly valuable without an understanding of the effect of pace.
It's pace that makes Magnufighter's time of 98 noteworthy. Raw times show the race was ~6 lengths slower than the time Crack Me Up over the same course later on the card but we know that Crack Me Up is not just an older horse but a very smart one with a Timeform rating of 110. On Saturday, Magnufighter was carrying well over weight-for-age while Crack Me Up carried well under weight-for-age, and on top of all of that, Magnufighter was finishing faster.
The speed of the last 600m represented as a percentage of the overall race speed shows that the three-year-olds finished at around 103.7% while Crack Me Up and the established older horses finished at 101.2% of their overall race speed.
This is probably a slight knock on the Recognition Stakes but also a big tick for Magnufighter and his three-year-old pals in race four.
That fast-finishing effort hints at Magnufighter being capable of running to a faster time than 98 - and perhaps significantly so.
Furthering confidence in the strength of this form is the fact that Magnufigher had already produced a couple of solid performances prior to Saturday, as had the placegetters Boom Boom Epic and Colosimo.
All in all, Magnufighter looks one for the black book and, despite having a slightly more exposed profile, Colosimo looks worth following into something similar next time out as well.
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