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sectional times angle at the Dubai World Cup

Guest blogger Steven Lines, @sjlone1, takes a look at the Dubai World Cup meeting from a sectional timing angle, something almost totally foreign to British punters!

Dubai World Cup Sectional Times

The recent announcement of the use of sectional timing during the QIPCO Champions Series has given racing presenters and pundits much welcome alternative filler to the common fare of flawed breeding analysis. Instead of searching through a three-generation pedigree grasping to find “the one to take from the race” in a Catterick seller they will be scouring the Tuftrax sectionals for any 11 second furlongs – these will then be interpreted as “broken his/her opponents” or “went too fast “….. depending on the horses finishing position!

British sectionals, for us who only get paid when our opinions are correct, are meaningless. Our racecourses can’t even supply correct race distances – witness the course records broken at Newbury recently! Denman et al; great Hennessy winners of the past, have now been eclipsed by Ikorodu Road.

Sectionals were developed for All Weather racing; consistent going and no rail movement….yes of course it would be more beneficial to concentrate efforts in sectional timing to the AW but punters still languish at the foot of the food chain - and QIPCO and the BHA will find it easier to “network” at Ascot or Newmarket than a mid-winter Thursday at Southwell. Sectional timing is common throughout the rest of the racing empire, but our racing is the best in the world I hear you say! The Premier League is the ‘best in the world’ – according to those who make a living out of it – but the England team performance contradicts this belief. I suggest racing wears the same tinted spectacles…… Why use sectionals? Unless you have the eyes of Pricewise, you will see the race exactly as 99% of viewers - and bookmakers. Combine the visual with readily available ratings and you create a very efficient assessment of the horse’s chance - which is readily reflected in bookmaker’s odds. Taking the subjective view out of the race may give the analysis a “system” feel but it does produce underbet selections. It also relieves the pressure at those times when every wagering opinion you have concludes wrongly…..

How do they work……..here comes the science bit. Two evenly matched horses both ran their last race in 1:09.8 – giving them an identical ‘final time’ speed figure. Fractional times show us horse A ran 22.2 secs for the 1st 2 furlongs and 24.8 for the last 2 furlongs. Horse B ran 23.2 and 23.8 respectively. The middle fraction for both was 22.8. Converting the figures to feet-per-second gives a value for each fraction:

Horse A 59.45 57.89 53.22 Average 56.85 fps. Early pace % 35 of final time
Horse B 56.89 57.89 55.46 Average 56.74 fps. Early pace % 33 of final time

So from identical final time speed figures we have an objective, determining difference. Horse A has shown the ability to run faster – although favourable race conditions and competent jockeyship are still vital. Calculations are a bit more complex with the need to include beaten lengths.

Godolphin Mile

All angles point to the favourite, AFRICAN STORY. Even when defeated by stablemate SANDAGIYR, his converted fractions show him to be the quicker horse. From a back to lay in-running angle the 10/1 available now for DO IT ALL seems good value, obviously the 11 draw doesn’t help but De Souza is world class and there is no other recognised early speed in the race. WESTERN ARISTOCRAT is the unexposed wildcard.

A small combination forecast on the Godolphin runners and DO IT ALL (10/1) with a view to laying either pre-race or in-running will be the play.

Dubai Gold Cup

Races over 10f and further don’t lend themselves to sectional pace ratings – class and stamina becoming a more important performance factor.

UAE Derby

An impossible race to analyse with differing lines of form from Australia, Argentina, UAE, France, US, Japan and Britain. The Dubai sectionals figures show MICKDAAM should confirm placings with SURFER and COUNTERGLOW from their last meeting, although KINGLET has the figures to be competitive if you can forgive his last race. ENTIFAADHA should reverse form with BURANO but the ‘bounce’ factor and first time on Tapeta maybe negative factors. I’ll be scouring the match bets.

Different races need to be approached in different ways. If given a free bet in this race I would look for a horse that had won a Group 1 and was within 3lbs of Timeform top rated – I would then switch to a casino site and choose black or red! Good luck…

Al Quoz Sprint

Another race not conducive to sectional ratings – the figures are always distorted in favour of the late runners.

Dubai Golden Shaheen

Another race where time analysis is fruitless. Group 1 winning form on show from Australia, Hong Kong, US and Singapore. Five Group 1 winners, four are which are still open to improvement, plus some useful local runners, mean a place lay of ROCKET MAN won’t do too much damage – sorry, can’t help myself defaulting to the subjective view!

Dubai Duty Free

MUTAHADEE is a prime example of the use of sectionals. The calculations show him to comfortably be the best horse in the race when behind MASTER OF HOUNDS on his last outing. The horse I’ve been waiting for… a little race at Jebel Ali on a Thursday would have seen the credit cards maxed; but against hardened Group 1 performers? The computer says……yes.

Dubai World Cup

Another gathering of different form lines; again making time comparison analysis worthless but CAPPONI has figures to make him an in-running back to lay play. Drawn wide in 11 he needs to gain an uncontested position pressing likely pace setters MASTER OF HOUNDS and SMART FALCON. His smart turn of foot in the final fraction could see him trade short as the finishers try to close him down in the straight.


There it is then – Excel has crunched the sectionals and spewed out African Story and Mutahadee as likely winners – which won’t be too difficult to land on by traditional study but it is Do It All and Capponi where, hopefully, sectionals will allow us to make a profit from the race within the race.

If nothing else, sectionals will reduce the number of times we have to endure the ‘as a son of blah de blah out of a blah de blah mare he should prefer a bit of blah de blah…..’ I’ll pay for that.

More previews to come tonight/tomorrow morning!

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