This Tuesday's Auteuil card was moved forwards to cope with the late summer temperatures and we had an 8-race card to enjoy. I have included the time comparisons for all of the races, as well as the ratings for the 6 hurdles races. Much like last weeks card, the times would suggest that the ground is still riding faster than the advertised "Very Soft" would suggest, with 5 of the 6 races having final circuit times below the course average and both the 3YO and 4YO Listed hurdles producing times quicker than the standard.
Rather than highlighting horses to follow from todays meeting, I simply have a couple of key observations to make. Firstly, to some housekeeping. If you look at the ratings for the hurdles races you will notice that the second race, won by Poligone, has produced negative ratings. Now the horses clearly didn't run backwards, but these figures are accurate based on the calculations that I use. This was a weak race on paper, effectively a 0-50 handicap and whilst the winner had been running well, it looked to be a gift for his connections when the final declarations were published and so it proved. Despite having conditions in their favor, the race was run at a very slow pace, over 10-seconds slower than any of the other 4 races over the same course and distance today and they ran a final circuit time of 2:38.65, which again was very slow compared to the other races. The model that I use is built around average speeds and time comparisons and although this is an extreme example, it does highlight the fact that certain races need to be treated with far more caution than others.
My second point would be that although going wide in the back straight can be an advantage later in the year, when the ground is quick, it is the complete opposite. There were several horses that I have noticed being ridden wide in the back straight in the 2 meetings so far this autumn and all of them have lost significant ground and finished tailed off. Trying to cover the extra ground (approximately 12-lengths) when there is no obvious disadvantage on the inside rail is a waste of time and it will probably be several weeks more before the situation reverses. Any horse that was taken wide in the back straight can be easily forgiven their poor showing in the last few days.
Now to the more important point. The 3-year-olds. At the end of the Spring season there was a sense that the Juvenile hurdlers were below average this year, but the last couple of days have led me to question that belief. It may simply that they needed more time and although it is a relatively small sample size the figures do tend to agree with that notion. In the Spring, only Jigme ran to a rating of 100 or more, but in the last 5-days there have been 7 Juveniles who have all gone beyond that level. The Prix Des Platanes looked a very strong race last Friday and todays Prix Pelat was not far behind as both the winner, Sissi du Mesnil and the 2nd, Kara Diamond, went beyond a rating of 100 on my scale. Sissi du Mesnil had some very strong form in the book behind Shiny Monday and Funny Berry in the Spring, but she took her form to a new level with a 7-length win over the equally promising Kara Diamond. The 2-kilos that Kara Diamond had to concede were probably crucial today, but the pair pulled a long was clear of the rest, despite getting racing from the fourth last to the line and running a very fast final circuit time. With their Fillies allowance, the pair would probably be within a few pounds of Jigme and Light Wave now and if the ground were too remain on the better side of soft, there is every reason to believe that they will continue to reach those levels. In the autumn of 2022, St Donats emerged from the pack to stamps class on the Juvenile division and the signs are that the 2023 generation are starting to come good.