A couple of weeks back we took stock of the two-year-old scene following the spring carnival - which you can read here - and noted that the season was about to reach it's first real pivot point, the transition from spring to summer a significant one and a time where we could expect to see the group take shape before the crop-defining clashes of the autumn.
The weekend just gone provided exactly the sort of shake-up that we were looking for, with big winners in both Melbourne and Sydney charging up Timeform's Leaderboard to fill two of the top three spots on the bill. The headline act was Acrobat, one that should be right at home perched high upon the top of the table.
Our new table-topper vaulted over his stablemate Enthaar with a debut rating of 109, marking him down as one of the best winners of the valuable Inglis Nursery, a race which has proven a good launching pad in it's relatively short history.
In four years between 2013 and 2016, three Inglis Nursery winners went on to become the Champion Two-Year-Old according to Timeform ratings. Mossfun and She Will Reign won it en route to winning the Golden Slipper and Extreme Choice produced the highest rating in the history of the race at 115 before posting a crop-topping 123 in the Blue Diamond.
Like Acrobat, Extreme Choice was on debut in the Inglis Nursery. His rating of 115 one of the best summer debuts this century and he is one of just 53 that have made a faster start than Acrobat in the summer.
That list is headed up by the 119-rated Rubick who posted that mark in late January 2014. Of the eight summer debutantes to rate higher than Extreme Choice seven were stakes winners. Delago Brom and More Joyous went on to win at Group One level - the latter multiple times - while Amelia's Dream almost certainly would have had injury not cut her career short after two starts where she ran to massive ratings of 117 and 124. There are 'could have been anythings' and then there is Amelia's Dream...
Amelia's Dream's Silver Slipper romp came at the expense of Hips Don't Lie, a filly who ran to 110 on debut and also provides a nice pathway for this stroll down memory lane to follow back around to Acrobat, her sixth foal by Fastnet Rock to make it to the racetrack, and her third to post a triple-figure rating.
Acrobat wasn't quite fast enough to knock off mum's debut mark on Saturday but his 109 does put him alongside some big names. Group One winners Astern, Yell and Kusi all ran to 109 making their debut in the summer, as did established sires like Hinchinbrook, Domesday and Fighting Sun.
Of course, this subset also includes some not so successful stories, but it is not unreasonable to infer from a set of similar horses that Acrobat has a very good chance of developing into a smart performer and a reasonable chance of being even better than that. We don't know how good he might be, but we do have a pretty good idea of how bad he isn't.
The same can be said of Profiteer who ran to 105 at Flemington. He is by first-season sire Capitalist who was a brilliant summer two-year-old himself, rated 116, though he made his debut back in the spring.
He sits a little bit behind Acrobat, and therefore could be considered slightly less likely to 'make it', but the range of possible futures is vast and only two (Acrobat and Enthaar) have outrun Profiteer up to this point in Timeform's view.
As a wise old punter once said, the times, they are a-changin', and we will see certainly see plenty more fast times and leaderboard charges over the 10 weeks of summer that remain, but in Acrobat and Profiteer we have seen a couple of the first significant moves in the race to be Champion Two-Year-Old.