It's is starting to be dark by 7:00, the Arc weekend has been and gone and every course with racing this weekend has the word "soft" somewhere in the going description. All of this points to 2 things; for my children it means that Christmas is nearly here and for Flat racing fans it means that the switch to the all-weather is around the corner.
Whilst the All-weather racing may not be to everyones taste, one point that stands out for me is the availability of data for racing on an artificial surface, especially in the UK. Sky Sports Racing is not everybody's cup of tea, but it is very hard to fault the level of detail and data that they provide for the All-Weather racing in the winter, especially with the sectional times, stride data and pace analysis. France-Galop provide a similar service in France, with the sectional time data provided by McLloyd, but it is very easy to get lost in all of this data. I wanted to try and develop a simpler system to help me analyse the speed of French racing and having spent the best part of 18-months working on this, I've narrowed it down to the 7 all-weather tracks. The huge variation in ground conditions on the turf tracks, from the Good to Firm of Dieppe in June to the Heavy ground of Paris Longchamp on Arc weekend means it was becoming a bit beyond my mathematical skill to make those allowances, but on the Artificial surfaces it is much simpler.
Looking at sectional times and using a stopwatch is not for everyone, there are plenty of ways to look at a piece of form after all. Below I have uploaded a simple PDF with the average times for the All-weather tracks in France. If nothing else, this should give a brief guide as to the level of pace on in a race. Once we know the speed of race, it makes it easier to upgrade (or downgrade) the form of a Front-runner who set a decent gallop, or a fast finisher who closed well in a falsely run affair. Having spent 18-months recording the times for the all-weather races and then the last 2 months testing it as the all-weather tracks began to return, I can be confident that the figures will hold up and I hope that you may find this useful.
*Just for information, French Races are recorded in metres, not furlongs. (200m = 1-furlong)