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Coral Eclipse Stks.

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Replies: 242
By:
Figgis
When: 07 Jul 13 11:39
ReaseHeath

I thought you made a good point on the horse racing forum, regarding the theory bandied about on tv before the Eclipse that Al Kazeem had 3 races on fast ground so might not run to form. Where does this garbage come from? Fast performances, on any ground, can take their toll on horses, but I've never seen any evidence that a fast run race on firm ground is more taxing than a fast run race on soft ground. Total twaddle.
By:
Sandown
When: 07 Jul 13 12:19
I guess any concerns would have to do with a horse,with apparently a preference for cut, becomming jarred up or unwilling to let himself down again on genuinely fast ground.
By:
ReaseHeath
When: 07 Jul 13 12:22
yes, mate - just lazy thinking to me (Mick Fitz main culprit), not sure of the nature of AK's injury but I know Charlton said he could have raced at the end of last season at a push but they decided to be patient.

Entirely possible for me that he is physiologically sounder now than he would have been without a lay off but with a series of tough races as a 4yo on the softer summer ground which prevailed last year. 

I think the trainer deserves a lot of credit for the way he has handled the horse both last year and this year.
By:
Figgis
When: 07 Jul 13 12:30
Yes, Sandown, but it's being used as a generalisation. I've been following racing since the mid 80s, where I know for a fact that there was more racing on genuine good to firm ground than there is now. Obviously this is mainly due to watering policies now. However, I have not seen any improvement in horses running to form or any less injuries due to these watering policies.
By:
Sandown
When: 07 Jul 13 16:48
Sometimes times and ratings don't really get the measure of a horse. Rock of Gibralter was one such and AK looks like another.
By:
Figgis
When: 07 Jul 13 16:58
I've heard that said before about RoG, never really understood it though, as for me he had some decent ratings.
By:
sintonian
When: 07 Jul 13 18:58
The Fugue ran a shocker.
By:
A_T
When: 07 Jul 13 19:06
I'm surprised they're going the mile route with Intello. I said I think he's the best middle distance 3yo I've seen this year but he has no chance against an on form Dawn Approach.

Connections did the same with Galikova - they don't want to find out before Arc day that it doesn't get the trip.
By:
mac99
When: 08 Jul 13 07:08
To  be honest  after reviewing  the race a few times  the admission of James Doyle that he   went,' too soon'  on   on AK  has become more evident   , he may  even have been  flattening out   as the interference   took place   , sorry to say we may not  have heard the end of  this  because it is   possible  that  Mukadram under  a very shrewd ride    was fighting back , AK wants good ground   that is for sure
By:
Sandown
When: 08 Jul 13 11:10
It was a risk running AK on Saturday as the ground was very fast for a horse whose connections feel is better with some cut. He looked to me as though he might have been feeling the the ground in the last furlong when he seemed to lose his action for a moment when he came off a straight line. The time was poor for a G1. If we assume that Code of Honour ran to his rating in the handicap over the 10f then on my calculations. AK returned a figure of 104 some 25lb below his OR. I would have expected that a G1 winner would compensate for a slower overall figure by putting in better finishing fractions but AL ran the last 2f only 0.01 secs faster than Code of Honour. On the clock, therefore, this was not a vintage renewal. I would not want to be with AK again unless he has a long recovery period (which he looks like getting) but even so he may have left the Arc behind with a tough first half season programme.

Talking of preparation, the question to ask after a strenuous performance is whether it adds to or takes from an athletes fitness. Did Djokovic leave the Wimbledon final behind him after the Del Potro match because to my mind he was flat? And Andy Murray came into Wimbledon off a lay off and then had an easy draw with only one match, the quarter final being really demanding, and for which he had 2 more days to recover. All performers need to be trained to peak on the key day and for the Arc as Fabre has shown time after time, the best prep is an undemanding summer.
By:
Sandown
When: 08 Jul 13 11:11
22lb below his OR
By:
Figgis
When: 08 Jul 13 12:15
Sandown

I totally agree about the importance of preparation. I'm no tennis expert but I thought Djokovic's main weakness yesterday was his poor serving and I was very surprised he went as low as 9/4 while 2 sets down and no sign of improvement in his serve.

Preparation is vital for the Arc, which is the reason I don't like the way the race is often held up as the defining championship event of the season. I know great horses like Sea The Stars managed to win it without necessarily having their campaign geared towards it, but many very good horses have failed to run anywhere near to form there after having a hard season.

Did you mean Circus Turn in the handicap?
By:
Figgis
When: 08 Jul 13 12:35
Actually, I'll be surprised if Al Kazeem's winning streak remains intact before the Arc, if he's being aimed at York or Leopardstown first. I can't recall a horse winning 4 Gp1s with figures as low as AK, although the Tattersalls is generally a weak affair, usually little more than Ballydoyle benefit race.
By:
Sandown
When: 08 Jul 13 13:05
Figgis Yes I did mean Circus Turn of course although looking at Code of Honour I see that he finished the last 2 secs 1 sec faster than AK the following day although the overall time was slow.As for Djovic, he made an usual number of unforced errors and his serving was off, all of which could be put down to a loss of sharpness both mental and physical. He made no excuses though.With horses, it can show up in negative paddock signs and loss of condition especially if its fillies/mares. I was at Sandown on Saturday and AL along with DOW was the paddock pick, so no obvious signs of over-racing except in the poor times overall and sectionally for the race itself. But he still won. Doesn't say much for the other runners either.
By:
Sandown
When: 08 Jul 13 13:06
Should have typed "last 2 F" and AK not AL. Sun must be getting to me.
By:
Figgis
When: 08 Jul 13 13:20
Regarding fillies, do you subscribe to the view that fillies are unpredictable due to coming in and out of season? I remember years ago reading Alex Bird make the point in his book and I've heard it elsewhere. It was something I kept in mind in my early punting days but personally I have found fillies no more unpredictable than colts, in fact many of my biggest winning bets have been on fillies.
By:
Figgis
When: 08 Jul 13 13:35
Going back to Al Kazeem, interestingly when he suffered his leg injury in the Jockey Club Stakes the ground was described as good to soft, the times pointing to it being more like soft.
By:
Sandown
When: 08 Jul 13 20:29
Figgis

I've known fillies run well as well as badly when in season. I've seen horses rear and sweat or behave coltish  when in the paddock and then scorch home.It's not exactly an exact science, is it?Happy Still, generally speaking, I'd prefer not to back a filly in season. But if they are in foal, then we should definatley be told because they do seem to improve for it.

As for AK getting injured, well injuries can occur anytime so the ground probably wasn't the cause that time. He is a big strong horse, quite heavy I should think, so it is not surprising that he might prefer good to softer ground.
By:
mac99
When: 08 Jul 13 20:56
Post script

Edited version of Turtrax    sectionals 

from  Dave Rawlinson  of    timeform   

'A closer look at the sectionals reveals that the Eclipse runners went particularly quickly from 4f out to 1f out but were slowing more than might be expected in the final furlong. Al Kazeem ran 10.94s, 11.13s and 11.99s before coming home in 13.36s. That was the second-slowest final furlong for a winner on Saturday, with only Caucus, who ran at two miles, posting slower (13.60s).'

The sectional   times  clearly   show  that   AK and Mukadram   were   decelerating by the time  they reached   the  final  furlong , not unsurprising when  you consider how far out  they   upped the pace  , these  times  demonstrate  that the  final furlong   finishing flourish of  DOW was  not   quite as impressive  as it  seemed to be  at the time , see Turtrax for  all  Eclipse  participants sectional  times  .

I now firmly believe that   the severe interference caused  to Mukadram came   about as  a result of   AK   flattening out  under great pressure , when a Horse    flattens out  ( decelerates)    he is liable to loose some balance  . AK had no more to offer in terms of  further acceleration   from the point where the interference occurred ,  where as    Mukadram    who had been badly hampered  managed to  somehow    get going again  to finnish third   .

The end of this magnificent was not about speed anymore  it was about  courage,   it was  very  unfortunate  that Mukadram  was  not able to  fight all the way to the line  , the rules are the rules  but to my mind  they are joint winners of a great race
By:
Sandown
When: 09 Jul 13 09:29
It was a good spot to pick up on the fast 4th/3rd last furlongs because  AK covered them in 22.07 secs significantly faster than the winners of the other 3 10f races over the meeting. Jockeys normally slow down going around bends for the obvious reason that horses can lose their balance more easily the faster they go and it can also lose them ground as they can be pushed out through centrifugal force. I expect to see  at least 0.5 secs per f slower for a bend so they were trapping and this will add to the reduction of reserve energy for the final 2f especially at Sandown with its stiff finish.

Nevertheless, this was the only split that was significantly faster and given that the first 6f was not especially fast for a G1 the final time figure was well below what might have been expected and can't be totally explained by just one fast 2f fraction. AK appeared to lose his action in the last furlong, changed legs, and had to be pulled off the rail so pulling his head. Whilst loss of energy is part of the explanation, I consider that the horse was also feeling the ground and that he showed courage in winning in unsuitable conditions. I am reminded of Nashwan being given a hard race in the Eclipse and showing the effects in the KG subsequently when again getting another hard race. The effect was that he was not the same horse in the Autumn despite the rest given. The same may be true for AK.
By:
Figgis
When: 09 Jul 13 11:39
The difference with Nashwan, though, was his Derby and Eclipse wins were of a true Gp1 standard. Even if AK shows no ill effects from these races is his form really that good? Not in my opinion.

I remember Carson talking about Nashwan. He reckoned the horse had lost his edge after the Eclipse and thought he would struggle in another fast run race, but he knew he could still sprint for a couple of furlongs. It was his idea to have their pacemaker set a slow pace in order for Nashwan to utilise his sprint finish. As a jockey, Carson went up in my estimation after hearing that, I can't see some of today's jockeys having that kind of tactical nous.
By:
Figgis
When: 09 Jul 13 11:41
Set a slow pace in the King George, that is.
By:
Millerracing67
When: 09 Jul 13 17:15
For some strange reason there still seems to be a lot of punters not very pleased by the performances of Al Kazeem (3 str G1 victories) Crazy
He was the best horse in the race on Sat & imo was very over priced in the morn at 3s Happy.  As for the post that "rules are rules" & "joint winners" is utter rubbish imo Crazy Its prob the case of a gd few punters & so called pundits doing there ££££ in backing against him in his 3 G1 victories this year, that's prob more like it.
Al Kazeem is a high class horse & it will take a very smart performer to get the better of him this season.
By:
Figgis
When: 09 Jul 13 18:57
I backed Al Kazeem at the Curragh, had no bet in the POW, backed DOW against him on Saturday, so overall I'm actually up on bets involving him. It still makes no difference in assessing how good he is. It's not about how many Gp1s a horse has won, it's about the quality of the performance and the level he's shown so far is not of a very high level, imo.
By:
Sandown
When: 09 Jul 13 20:36
Millerracing67

You are way out on your assessment of why some players like myself and Figgis may have a less than enthusiastic view  of AK or more accurately his future prospects. For the record, I didn't play at the Curragh, backed him at Ascot and whilst having him as the most likely winner at Sandown I really was concerned about the ground and therefore didn't play. The 3/1 on offer was for peanuts unless you could get a few score people going around the shops. Why do you think we end up here. It's because we can't get on with BM's. I'd like to think that I'm discussing this game as a professional with other professionals and no way just for the sake of looking good or sounding good. Which is why I hardly bother with this forum now.
By:
Sandown
When: 09 Jul 13 20:38
PS I note that you have achieved 1048 replies in 2 years whilst I have no more than 1276 in 12 years. What does that tell you?
By:
mac99
When: 09 Jul 13 20:52
Miller 67  you are  a  knowledgeable  racing enthusiast,   there are dozens on here  , why not   just stick to   Horses and refrain from personalising   things ?
By:
Figgis
When: 09 Jul 13 21:38
Sandown

Do you think the problem with bookmakers got worse because of exchanges? Before Betfair got a grip I usually found a way of getting on with bookmakers. Hopefully that's not because I was considered a rubbish punter Wink
By:
mac99
When: 09 Jul 13 22:34
I think  AK could have won  the Eclipse in  a non controversial way   if  R. Charlton and his Jockey  had  given some thought to a pace plan   in the race

If    J. Doyle  on  AK had  raced upsides Muckadram     from the  off   and set his own fractions
rather than  relying  on Mukadram  to do so    then in all probability   the  time for the early furlongs would have been   quicker , this  in turn would  have meant  that    Mukadram  would have been forced  to delay  his  daring charge for the winning line  from  a point  early in the home straight .

Doyle on AK   would have been  aware that the charge ( given a quicker early pace ) was  futile
from that far out , he  could have nailed the other Horse for speed close home ,but this is not how the 2013 Eclipse  was run  ,two  rapidly decelerating  Horses  came together  one Horse greatly benefited from  that collision , that is what happened
By:
mac99
When: 09 Jul 13 22:41
imoGrin
By:
Sandown
When: 10 Jul 13 09:40
Figgis

Do you think the problem with bookmakers got worse because of exchanges?
Truly, I don't know the answer to this. Speaking personally, I was experiencing greater and greater difficulty getting on with BM's prior to the arrival of BF and others and whilst I managed to hold on to some accounts for a few years, it was mostly as a result of using them less frequently. Eventually, they were all closed including some on-course accounts as BM's moved away from credit. It seems that from reading experiences of others on here and on the Horse Racing forum, that many, many people get accounts closed after a very short winning period or even a losing period if they are associated with "live" horses too many times. It does seem that BM's are aware of professional arbers since the arrival of exchanges and a friend of mine who is a lont-term very successful pro arber believes that BM's have tightened up so much on this that the game is gone with arbing.

Looking at the game over the very long term, say 20-30 years, I would say that the opportunity to be a successful "opinion" player/backer in horseracing has diminished markedly for many reasons including difficulty in getting on, but also because of the BF effect on tissue prices which has led to virtual minimal differences between BM's on pricing in early and AP markets, and of course gambles can be seen by all on BF. Then there is spoofing, the trading effect (increased volatility), bots picking off opinion players moves, all of which makes it difficult. I wouldn't advise anyone starting afresh to make horse backing their game these days.Do you follow the General Forum? There are not many traditional backers mostly traders so that's the way that BF has gone.
By:
Sandown
When: 10 Jul 13 09:48
mac99

I mostly agree with your views only adding that the jockey on AK had very little time to decide on these things - split seconds literally, and he made his move, in hindsight, too soon. But he got away with it. Remember Frankel at Ascot when Queally made up too much ground too soon and managed to almost get the horse beaten? 1200lb of horse running at close to 40mph makes you wonder whether our post-race analysis should allow more often for how difficult the job is.
By:
Sandown
When: 10 Jul 13 10:15
Interestingly, the BHA handicappers believe that AK ran to 126 and according to the RP today
[This level is a shade higher than the ‘average' Eclipse on the historical standards and it might well be that the levels of both this and the Prince of Wales's need revisiting in time, but for now this looks a solid starting point to me.

More proof, if proof it is, that getting agreement on what has happened, even though the evidence is the same for all, is hard enough. No wonder there is little agreement on what might happen in the future. Even if there is, everyone could be wrong.
By:
pedrobob
When: 10 Jul 13 11:07
Sandown, I suspect the handicapper's view on AK is about rating him to race averages, rather than on what he has beaten or collateral form. He's probably used the twice beaten Camelot as a yardstick for AK's lofty rating, even though that horse has been a goner (if he was ever anything else) since last years Derby (poor form behind). Even Camelot's Guineas win is poor form, judged retrospectively.

Interesting your earlier comment:

Then there is spoofing, the trading effect (increased volatility), bots picking off opinion players moves

How do bots tell the difference between "spoofing" and "picking off opinion players"? Are you suggesting they know which specific accounts fall into either category?
By:
Figgis
When: 10 Jul 13 11:17
Sandown

I used to have a look in on the General Forum but haven't bothered for a while. I got seriously into racing around the age of 17 but if I was that age again now I doubt I'd be as drawn into racing as it stands. Mainly because there is just too much of it, too much dross and too much of the good stuff concentrated at the weekends. I know you can just specialise, and I always have preferred my bigger bets in the better races, but as a punter who uses times I don't believe it's an option to only analyse specific races, you have to have it all, or nearly all, of it covered.

Since the racecourses have gained more control they obviously want to target the weekend crowds. However, this is at the expense of racing's serious enthusiasts. The attitude is that their core audience will just continue to follow the game anyway, a bit like political parties take their core voters for granted, but I wonder where racing will gain its serious followers in the future.

I also don't think the racing media helps to attract a younger audience. It's either the Butlins Redcoat approach or tedious fence sitting babbling. I don't care if they can tip winners or not, but at least give an honest opinion for Christ's sake. I saw James Willoughby, who I like, broach the subject of the unwillingness of the racing media to criticise anybody in the sport. He rationalised it by saying people don't like to criticise others they might meet, etc. Obviously there is some truth in this, but he was still letting them off lightly.

Contrast the way racing is presented with football. I know their presenters/pundits have their critics but at least football has a fair share of people not afraid to say what they see. I saw Ray Wilkins (who isn't particularly over critical when it comes to discussing players), describe some of Evra's defending as "appalling" (and rightly so). He wasn't saying Evra was an appalling defender, just that that particular piece of his playing was poor. Every week you will hear one of them say, such a player is "having a nightmare", "what was he thinking?", "should be taken off", etc. Nobody is shocked over this kind of criticism and nor should they be. However, in racing there are only brilliant rides and "unlucky" ones. When anybody has tried to venture a criticism invariably what follows is lots of jockey dummy spitting. Cheats are excused or embarrassingly brushed quickly under the carpet.

Rant over Mischief
By:
pedrobob
When: 10 Jul 13 11:46
Horse racing is a much more insular and smaller world to something like football, isn't it Figgis?

If you upset the top 4 or 5 trainers or jockeys, you are virtually persona non grata as a journalist / commentator / presenter etc.

In football, you've still got hundreds of other players / managers who will want to give you their opinion or talk to you about a game, even if the top 4 or 5 might refuse to for some reason.

Did anyone really miss Alex Ferguson when he wasn't talking to the BBC? If Aidan O'Brien had a blanket ban on the media (or say Andre Fabre in France), Richard Hughes, AP McCoy (with RUK?) etc, that would be a far bigger loss to a sport's appeal as they obviously dominate it so heavily.
By:
Figgis
When: 10 Jul 13 11:48
Pedrobob

The answer to that is quite simple, the racing authorities would not allow that to happen, if they had any balls.
By:
Figgis
When: 10 Jul 13 11:56
Incidentally, Evra is obviously a United player, the comments were made on Sky, Ferguson still spoke to Sky.
By:
Sandown
When: 10 Jul 13 12:02
pedrobob

I'm sure you're right and that the OR's for these big races are set around the race standard.


Re my comments on bots etc I didn't specifically mean to link  bots to spoofing or opinion players, more that such is the nature of trading activity that reading markets is not as easy as it once was. The number of successful longterm players on BF who are of an "opinion" seem to be in a minority compared to traders especially those who use bots. We, as a group, have not made the advances perhaps that the traders/IT experts/mathematicians have made, if I can take the liberty of grouping them together.
By:
Figgis
When: 10 Jul 13 12:16
Sandown

I see that Timeform have also rated the Eclipse a bit higher than average, they reckon only Giant's Causeway, Sea The Stars and So You Think have recorded higher this century. I have it well under average and can't see how it can be rated higher than last year when Nathaniel won.

I have looked to see if I have underrated AK somewhere along the line, but I still don't think I have. If he proves me wrong in future I will freely admit I must've underrated him, or, at least, that he was winning well within his limits and was better than the bare form. However, if he goes on to disappoint, that still won't necessarily prove that I was right (even though I'll believe I was Wink), as it could be argued that he'd left his best form behind.
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