» Hindsight, a wonderful thing

Hindsight, a wonderful thing

By Rory King

Hindsight is great. Like when you look back over Danedream’s record after she scooted in to win the Arc by the longest margin since Sakhee, in the fastest time ever, and you realise that, not only had she won on good ground, but she had won the Italian Oaks and the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Berlin, both on good ground, by a combined margin of 11 and a half lengths. But a cursory check over her form before the race had revealed just what you had expected, that she had ploughed through the mud to win the Grosser Preis Von Baden on her previous start, so she had no chance with the sun out on Sunday drying up all the water they had put on the course. They’re all mud-larks these German horses, aren’t they?

And then you look back on the stats for the race. You knew that it had become a race for the three-year-olds, 14 of the previous 17 renewals had been won by three-year-olds. You knew how important a low draw was too. Sixteen of the previous 18 winners had come from a single-figure stall. You knew that Danedream was drawn in stall two. After a little more digging around pre-race, you had found another compelling statistic: 11 of the previous 12 winners had won a Group 1 that season by at least two lengths. How many qualifiers were there on that score? Three, one of whom, So You Think, was five and drawn wide. Oh, and then there was the fact that Danedream’s connections had decided to stump up the €100,000 supplementary fee.

So that left a shortlist of two then from the three key stats; Galikova and Danedream. Ok, you could have been excused for having Meandre on your list too. A three-year-old, he had won the Group 1 Grand Prix De Paris by a length and a half (would have been two lengths had he been ridden out to the line) and he was drawn in 10, so he was marginal on two counts. Always err on the side of inclusion I find. Either way, Danedream simply had to be on the shortlist right?

Well, judged by her SP of 20/1 it seems not. She certainly wasn’t on mine. With hindsight, in fact even without hindsight, she simply had to be. Perhaps it was the prejudice towards German racing that ensured she went off at that price, it had been 36 years since the last German-trained winner of the Arc, or perhaps it was because her supplementation kind of crept under the radar with most of the attention on the Nathaniel/Masked Marvel proceedings and with the higher-profile Meandre being supplemented too. Whatever the reason, I will be paying more attention to German runners abroad from now on (it turns out they’re not all mud-larks after all), and I will certainly be paying closer attention to the stats. It never pays to try to be too clever.

On the subject of stats then, the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday. It turns out that the draw is just about the most important factor in this race too. Hard to believe, a 34-runner handicap over two and a quarter miles with just one turn and the draw is probably the singularly most important factor. Eight of the last 10 winners were drawn 12 or lower, and five of them came from stall five or lower.

Unfortunately three-year-olds don’t fare quite as well in this as they do in the Arc, in fact nowhere near as well, with just one winner and one place from 21 runners in the last 10 years. Actually it is the opposite end of the age spectrum that fares best with the veterans Carraciola (11), Landing Light (8) and Top Cees (9) all winning in recent times. Jump trainers have a good recent record and five of the last 10 winners had run over hurdles before.

Alright, not as compelling a stat as the ones for the Arc, and you’ll have to do a bit more work this time to come up with the winner, but, together with the draw, definitely a useful starting point. And you couldn’t possibly expect another 20/1 gift without having to do a little digging yourself.

By Rory King