The table in section 2 of this article covers the top performances by British raced 2yos through to the end of the turf season on November 4th. The ratings are those produced by B2yoR through the season and termed 'Estimates' (anywhere on the site where the term '[Est]' is used refers to these ratings).
The B2yoR ratings are targeted at actual performance achieved and contain no 'boosts' for the classification of the contest. The system for allocation of rating is still developing with part of the task to bring the scale close to that used for B2yoR Paddock Reviews (as well as to attempt to address some of the perceived errors with the standard systems).
In general an Estimate over 70 indicates a horse that can compete well in the best maidens and better races. A rating over 80 would be able to compete in the better quality Pattern races and a rating of 90 or higher indicates the tiny set of elite 2yos (27 horses in 2006 out of 2,788 that raced).
In 2006 the ratings given to the winners of the thirty Listed races ranged from 93 down to 62 with the median in the high 70s. When a pundit talks about a good maiden winner 'stepping up' to Listed class this is much too simple an analysis and the quality of the opposition must be assessed. If they end up being opposed by a high class 2yo like Caldra, Excellent Art or Elhamri then the maiden winner is going to have to be at the elite quality end of the ratings to compete. The bar is going to be much, much, lower if they are running against Party, Danum Dancer & Selinka and things are going to be relatively easy.
In a mediocre year for British 2yo fillies the 8f Group 1 winning Simply Perfect rated 'only' 85 at best and the Group 3 winner Enticing rated in the low 80s and doesn't make the listing in section 2. In a better year the best fillies would rate around the 100 mark and set a much different test for runners who were 'stepping up'. Finsceal Beo and Sander Camillo (not fully proven) showed better from at 6-7f but there is clearly an opportunity for less exposed, or even unraced, fillies to mark their mark in the top 3yo races.
By contrast the 2yo colts looked a good group and produced a body of form which ought to stand up quite well through the first half of the 3yo year. The highest two ratings go to the Irish trained Teofilo & Holy Roman Emporer who are markedly different physical types. Teofilo is a taller & bigger specimen who ought to carry on improving and has already proved himself the best of his generation to date in an unbeaten career. Holy Roman Emporer is small although heavily built and the normal view would be that he was a precocious 2yo who will fall down the rankings at 3yo because his size limits his improvement. However, he showed such high a level of ability and an unusual capacity to quicken off a good pace at 2yo that he seems likely to continue competing strongly at Group 1 level. He will still be vulnerable to the the very best, bigger, horses but only the truly high class ones.
(Talking through-the-pocket time - watching the overhead shots of the Dewhurst show just how much ground HRE was asked to make up on Teofilo. He then had to make two runs as he weaved through to challenge. Teofilo responded to the challenge (as he had when they met in Ireland) and proved the better horse but given less to do, a clear run and mugging Teofilo close home HRE might well have won. He certainly was showing abilities that just 'good' Group class 2yos do not).
The Racing Post Trophy was run on heavy ground (the previous day's racing at the course was abandoned) and produced a strung out finish between horses at between 20/1 to 33/1 with success going to a maiden. Surely a race not to take too literally and stick in the 'Pending' tray. The B2yoR view would be that it was a good performance and the second best 2yo race of the season.
The winner - Authorized - had one previous run when placed in a conditions race. His trainer said he had thought about running him in a Leicester maiden instead of the Group 1 event but he had been going so well at home he let him take his chance. With many trainers (like Clive Brittain) this kind of talk would be meaningless but Mr Chapple-Hyam really does know how good his 2yos are from their home work. The runner-up - Charlie Farnsbarns - had run well in early season races and came back from a break looking in top physical condition. He won a Conditions race at 20/1 before his 33/1 placing here with his SP in no way reflecting his appearance. Medicine Path finished third and ran for another astute trainer who places his horses well and knows their ability. Despite the long SPs the placed runners make a strong case for being the best horses.
Some general points are worth noting about the top 2yos in the list. The top ten are made up of 4 owner breds and six that went through the sales ring as yearlings. Three of these six made highish prices (400,000gns down to 135,000), one was around 60,000 but, notably, two made low prices. Dutch Art cost only 16,000gns and Caldra 14,000 and must have developed well but what has made them such good athletes? Caldra is by the sire Elnadim who had another 90+ rater with Wi Dud (a 25,000gns breeze-up purchase).
The top horses demonstrate the importance of the Danzig male line for the current group of stallions. Danzig is the sire of Haatef and Horris Hill victor Dijeerr, while his sons Danehill (Holy Roman Emporer, Simply Perfect, Admiralofthefleet & Duke Of Marmalade), Elnadim, Ishiguru (Hellvelyn) & War Chant (Rallying Cry) have 90+ raters. Look deeper and Danehill himself is responsible for several sires with 90+ rated runners - Dansili (Strategic Prince), Danetime (Vital Equine), Danehill Dancer (Medicine Path) & Rock Of Gibraltar (Eagle Mountain). Another high class sire by Danzig in Green Desert has champion first season sire Invincible Spirit (Conquest) and Cape Cross (Charlie Farnsbarns) to add to that list, and dominance.
Peter Chapple-Hyam has a strong group with the Group winners Authorized, Dutch Art & Hamoody along with the Coventry Stakes placed Tariq. His stable has gained in strength since his return from a not very successful stint in Hong Kong. Perhaps we might even see him looking less chased & morose in 2006. (Perhaps he might realise he's back in the 'penthouse' and never was on the 'pavement' as certain interviewers suggested when he returned to the UK. If the pavement equated to owning your own Newmarket yard which housed 2yos which cost up to 100,000gns where were the majority of trainers? Down the sewers, presumably).
For future interest here are five 2yos which did not rate above 85 but have sound prospects to improve well to 3yo. Striving Storm is also trained by Mr Chapple-Hyam and would have walked away with the Horris Hill (on the same card that Authorized won the Racing Post Trophy) if it had been decided on looks. He was supported before the race and somewhat disappointing in third but one to check for his development to 3yo. Looking at the field before the Dewhurst the result was mostly a match to their looks (with some account taken of known form). The one runner who kept niggling away as being better than he showed was Traffic Guard, not easy to explain why, mostly just 'feel'. The other three are Broghill, Proponent & Truly Royal. Also, Group3 winner Thousand Words seemed stuck at a similar level of performance late in his 2yo career. If he can put some muscle onto the tall and leggy frame he has then he can improve further. If he remains leggy and on the light side he probably stay at a similar level.
|2.||103||Holy Roman Emporer||O'BrienAP||14/10/06||NMKT||7||GS||7|
|6.||96||Strategic Prince||ColePFI||14/10/06||NMKT||7||GS||5||Good size and scope to develop to 3yo. Pedigree a positive in that regard.|
|8=||95||Caldra||KirkS||07/10/06||ASCT||8||S||7||Improved notably after gelding operation and break.|
|8=||95||Conquest||HaggasWJ||23/08/06||YORK||6||GS||5||Inconsistent, better attitude in blinkers and not handle soft going last run.|
|11=||94||Duke Of Marmalade||O'BrienAP||02/08/06||GDWD||7||GF||3||Unraced after this run and impressed as physical type with scope for 3yo dvelopment.|
|11=||94||Finsceal Beo (F)||BolgerJS||14/10/06||NMKT||7||GS||5||Injured in her second run and took two runs to show peak form on return.|
|11=||94||Sander Camillo (F)||NosedaJ||12/07/06||NMKJ||6||GF||3||Unraced after July 12th, non runner in Cheveley Park because of soft going.|
|16=||93||Elhamri||KirkS||20/06/06||ASCT||5||GF||3||Notably small and precocious, unlikely to improve as a 3yo.|
|22=||90||Champlain||JarvisMA||24/06/06||ASCT||7||GFF||2||Suspect rating, comfortably beaten in better later races.|
|22=||90||Hoh Mike||BellMLW||15/05/06||WDSR||5||GF||2||Best of the early season form but no progression on softer going after mid-season.|
|28=||89||Kirklees||JohnstonM||02/08/06||GDWD||7||GF||3||Promoted to Sheikh Mohammed colours from 'Jumeirah' team. Similar form in British Group races and below top level. Won Italian Group 1 from Lingfield AW maiden winner Strobilus and suggests that form not up to British Group 1 level.|
|28=||89||Not For Me||PittTJ||23/08/06||YORK||5||GS||6||Suspect rating and low 80s reasonable.|
|32=||88||Alzerra (F)||ChannonMR||07/10/06||ASCT||5||GS||7||Disappointing in mid-season. Improved when dropped to 5f on soft going.|
|32=||88||Indian Ink (F)||HannonR||22/09/06||ASCT||6.5||S||5|
|32=||88||Major Cadeaux||HannonR||20/06/06||ASCT||6||GF||2||Unraced after the Coventry. Likely to be competitive in a race like the Craven but not good enough in better class.|
|32=||88||Silk Blossom (F)||HillsBW||23/06/06||ASCT||6||GF||2|
|88||Silk Blossom (F)||HillsBW||24/08/06||YORK||6||S||4|
|87||Indian Ink (F)||HannonR||29/09/06||NMKT||6||S||6|
|40=||87||The Old Fella||HannonR||20/06/06||ASCT||5||GF||2||Suspect rating in the Windsor Castle - possible draw bias?|
|48=||86||Cav Okay||HannonR||22/06/06||ASCT||5||GF||4||Suspect rating in the Norfolk Stakes on new Ascot course.|
|86||Indian Ink (F)||HannonR||24/08/06||YORK||6||S||4|
|48=||86||Scarlet Runner (F)||DunlopJL||23/06/06||ASCT||6||GF||3|
|51=||85||Simply Perfect (F)||NosedaJ||23/09/06||ASCT||8||GSS||7||Low rating for Group 1 event.|
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