As the long hot summer takes its toll, especially on fillies, and the months tick over into August, serious handicappers should be longing for autumn.
Every summer, especially these climate-change-induced hell-fire summers we’ve recently experienced, the average punter goes berserk losing his/her hard earned cash on fillies with obviously superior form that start favourite and flop miserably. Recent examples include Kalamata (Race 2; July 29; 1-2 favourite; finished 3rd but never a winning factor to Wong Don, a colt, who was disqualified and the race awarded to 2nd past the post Balazo, another colt);Adoring Lady (Race 4; July 22; 4-5 favourite; 16 lengths 7thof 11 to K.D. Flyer, a colt); Ma Grande (Race 6; July 22; 8-5 favourite; 7 lengths 2nd to Cue Three, a colt); and Runallday (Race 1; July 8; 3-2 favourite; 10 lengths 6th of 7 to colts Wong Don/Balazo).
Why does this phenomenon (favoured fillies finishing in the ruck during the summer) play itself out every year without punters catching on? First and foremost, the overwhelming majority of local punters don’t study the sport. They love whispers, tips and rumours. But the real reason is the politically incorrect subject of the difference between boys and girls. The hot months of the year come at the height of the breeding season so, as soon as these ladies become “of age” (3/4yo), their minds wander to other priorities during these months. As a result, their performances are, at best, inconsistent. This isn’t to say fillies can’t win during the summer months but, because of their inconsistency, you can depend on them to be undependable. They are to be avoided like the plague as betting favourites because “inconsistent” means just that and good form is almost certain to be followed by bad form.
Even in fillies-only races, avoid the favourite. The 7th race on July 19 was a 3yonw2 for fillies only. The howling even-money favourite, Blue Tradition, was beaten by Biblical Legend at 17/1. On July 15, in the 8th race (for 4yonw3) the 8/5 favourite Queen of Bagdad could only muster 11 lengths 9th of 13 runners. The winner, Flying Machine, was also a filly but she was a 21/1 chance.
But, as the autumn leaves begin to show and the weather cools, watch as these fillies who couldn’t get out of their own way in summer, begin to blossom at exercise and turn the formbook on its head, winning at long odds against the boys. The witching date is around August 28. In September and October especially, these sumptuous delights will be available to any of you with the courage to back them, no matter how bad their form may appear.
Of course, we don’t do anything willy-nilly. First off, please remember we’re dealing with fillies giddy at the thought of the opposite sex, not tough, race-hardened mares. Secondly, as with any handicapping edge, this fillies-in-autumn theory works best at distances beyond sprints. The best prospects are those 1600m+ races in which a lone filly runs against colts. Yum, yum!
This is where we review local performances based on REAL times.
Abbreviations: CT = “Corrected Time”; TV = “Track Variant” (how to calculate the effect of track conditions on official times posted); TVs are in fifths of a second; “minus” means a fast track; “plus” means it was slow (e.g. -2 means fast by 2/5ths of a second). Variants beside individual horse’s names represent the difference between its official time and the grade average
Let’s try to squeeze in two days’ speed work for you:
July 29, 2017 [TV +0.4 per 200m (Rd) +8 (str)];
The 9th race (Overnight Allowance; 1500m; TV +3) is a KEY RACE.
Dwayne Star (-6) made all and kept on bravely in the last 200m to fend off the relentless pursuit of Phineas (-5) by a length in 1:32.0 (a smart time on a slow track). The winner’s CT of 1:31.2 is only 1/5th of a second slower than the open Grade 1 standard so he should be followed in any other race and is an intriguing outsider for the Sprint Championship in November.
Phineas; 3rd Prolific Princess (-2); 4th Timeforarms (-0); and 5th Uncle Taf (-0) beaten 1l; 3l; 2l; nose respectively, have recorded CTs of 1:31.3; 1:32.1 and 1:32.3 (twice). The Overnight Allowance standard is 1:33.1 and the Open Allowance standard is 1:32.3 so the readers can work it out for themself. All are winners-in-waiting at least at Overnight Allowance level.
August 1, 2017 [TV + 0.75 per 200m; +8 (Fortune100) +6(Patch)]
Milagro (-1) was fastest on the clock on a very slow track (R4; 3yomsw; 1100m; TV+4) out-finishing Rockdale (+1) by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:08.2. The winner’s CT is 1:07.3 (2/5ths of a second faster than nw2) while the second’s CT is 1:08.0 (3/5ths of a second faster than the maiden standard). The winner should be competitive in nw2 sprints while the second should have a near at hand maiden in his sights.
- Overseas Betting Opportunities (OBOs)
The last chance to back a Major Championship winner in golf will come starting August 10 at Quail Hollow golf club where the PGA Championship is scheduled. Quail Hollow has been lengthened for this event and a distinct advantage will accrue to big hitters.
This doesn’t include World Number 1, Dustin Johnson, who seems not to have recovered from a freak accident the night before the Masters that ruled him out of the event. Nor is it likely to be my early pick Rory McIlroy who fired his longtime caddy early this week. There’s just not enough time for a new caddy to get to know him well enough to win a Major.
The PGA is a place for young Turks to break out so my portfolio includes my selection Justin Thomas who has the game and the smarts and is a major winner in waiting. Others with real chances who hit the ball a long way areDaniel Berger and Patrick Rodgers, if he gets into the field.
Glorious Goodwood began on Tuesday and there’s still time to lump on my ante-post pick (advised on these pages two weeks ago) PROJECTION for the big sprint handicap, the Stewards Cup (Saturday, August 5; 6f; 1535GMT; 9.35 a.m.Jamaica Time).
In the meantime, Friday’s feature is the Group 2 King George Stakes, a quick sprint over England’s fastest 5 furlongs course (downhill all the way). This column must be submitted before the draw is known so some guesswork is required but Marsha put up a high-class performance in the Palace House and I suggest you draw a line through her subsequent run at the Curragh when she just couldn’t find any cover. Today there is sure to be a blinding early pace which should help her settle.
Now, two notebook horses for you – one from Tuesday’s Glorious Goodwood:
Important Mission [3yo b.g. More Than Ready – Laura’s Pleasure (Cactus Ridge)] Important Mission looked to this observer to be much better than the result when four and a quarter lengths fourth to Badenscoth in a 1m handicap at Chelmsford last week. That was his handicap debut and he was stepped up in trip for it. Important Mission was forced very wide entering the straight but kept on well in the last two furlongs (edged left) closing all the way to the line. He was unfortunate not to finish closer and it seems he’s on a lenient handicap mark. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Algam [2yo b.c. Kodiak – Evangeline (Saddler’sells)] Followed a creditable debut (Epsom; 7f; good to soft; dwelt; green; just held 2nd) with an eye-catching run on Tuesday(Goodwood; 6f; good; outpaced; plenty to do when staying on well on rail final 2f; hands and heels only; finished full of running). He has at least a maiden race to win and is very much one to keep on the right side.