When we recapped the Magic Millions Classic - which you can read here - we saw that success in the most competitive and significant juvenile race of the season to date had led Shaquero to take up the running in the race to be Timeform's Champion Two-Year-Old but with the caveat that he did so with a mark unlikely to keep him there for long.
It turns out 'not long' equates to two weeks. At it's genesis our leaderboard was headed up by Enthaar and her head-turning win in Saturday's Chairman's Stakes at Caulfield sent her straight back there with a rating of 111 that will surely sell her short come the season's end.
A rating of 111 is better than all bar one of the ten preceeding winners of the Chairman's Stakes. The one better, Extreme Choice, ran to 118+ before going on to record one of the finest wins (rated 123+) in the history of the Blue Diamond.
Fillies won eight of those ten preceeding Chairman's (now nine of the last ten) and have typically done so with ratings around 104-105. So Enthaar is not typical. And she doesn't look typical physically either.
What drives big ratings is big engines, and Enthaar clearly has that, but it's the vehicle that engine drives that might be of particular note. Enthaar has a turf-crushing stride, ripping off big chunks of ground with ease. A quick count from the 400m mark home on Saturday shows Enthaar taking about three less strides to cover the ground than the useful runner up Ingratiating who has a much more typical method of getting from A to B.
That engine doesn't have to burn much fuel when it covers so much ground per stride. Something in the ballpark of 7.75m per stride (based on my very rudimentary method of counting carefully), which is greater than average based on my (admittedly brief) readings of the fine work conducted on the subject by Simon Rowlands in the UK.
This ability to cover the ground efficiently eases concerns about her stretching her brilliance from the 1000m trips we have seen her over to the 1200m of the Blue Diamond. In fact, her stride could even be interpreted as a sign that she will be even better over 1200m when the extra strides taken by her less efficient rivals can really start to take their toll.
Alas, bookmakers have reacted in their typically inordinate manner. 5/4 (or shorter in places) to win the Blue Diamond with two weeks and a few more key trials to go between now and then puts all the unknowns onto the punter. No thanks...
Dosh generally sits on the second line of betting after winning the Fillies Preview but her 103 rating there was nothing outside the norm for a race that has produced one Blue Diamond winner in the last decade, Miracles Of Life, and she ran to 113 in her prep, some 10lbs above Dosh.
The Colts Preview hasn't produced the Diamond winner since Sepoy in 2011. Sepoy ran to 117, a full 12lbs higher than this year's winner General Beau, who looks a ready made two-year-old but his form there was no better than what Ingratiating produced getting panelled by Enthaar. The fact that Ingratiating rounded General Beau up in the spring gives that assessment a nice feel about it.
Profiteer is also prominent in Blue Diamond markets with a rating of 105. That he was able to run to that level on debut is his significant point of difference. He's got there quicker than General Beau and the like and gets a nice chance to build on that rating, and build himself a big Blue Diamond platform in the process, in the Inglis Millenium on Saturday. He's the one to raise the eyebrows of the ratings nerds away from the favourite.
Profiteer's debut was essentially a race against the clock. He beat very little in the way of horse flesh on the evidence at hand. But with Enthaar we are seeing a heirarchy beginning to establish. The pair that chased her home (forlornly) in the Gimcrack ran 1-2 in the Widden Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday. The winner, beaten 13lbs by Enthaar in October, ran to 100 and was much quicker than the ordinary looking colts who finished the Canonbury in a slow clump.
February 1 marks the midpoint of the season. We have rolled through the spring sparring and the holiday period that largely culminates with the Magic Millions. Now we transition into the third quarter. The Premiership quarter. Over the next three months the Blue Diamond and Sydney's Two-Year-Old Triple Crown will be run and the Champion Two-Year-Old will (probably) be decided. For that to happen one has to establish itself over the rest, and six months in it is Enthaar who makes the running.