The 8f races for juveniles start today with and Auction race at
Haydock and a (new) maiden at Sandown. Getting a horse to win on debut
over the full mile is more difficult than over shorter distances and debuts
successes are mainly achieved by a small range of trainers. Over a complete
season somewhere between 15-18% of races are won by FTO horses but
the figures for 8f races are below the average - 13% in 2007 for example.
In that season 26% of 5f races (assisted by the fact that early season
races include higher percentages of debut runners) were won by newcomers
and over 19% of 6f races.
Here are a few pointers about FTO horses in 8f events :-
The record varies a little but debuts wins in August are uncommon. Other
than a odd record of 6 winners in 2005 during August the normal number
is 1 or 2. There are often similar numbers of debut winners in September
and October although 2007 was untypical with 12 of the 15 debut winners
in October. The wet summer and better ground in later season was probably
a factor in this.
A small set of trainers regularly get 8f debut winners. In the last three
years the following have had at least one 8f FTO success in each year -
Mark Johnston (4-2-1, to add to his good 7f debut record which is
continuing in 2008), John Gosden (2-1-2) & R Beckett
(1-1-2). These trainers have had a debut winner in at least two of three
years - S Suroor (4-1-0), M Stoute (0-1-1), Michael Jarvis (0-2-1) &
S. Kirk (0-1-1). The other trainers have odd debut winners and this
usually links to the next point about quality of 8f winners. The oddities
have been Richard Hannon (2 x 8f debut wins in 2006 and nothing else in
recent years) & Bryan Meehan (2 x Debuts wins in 2008 and the first
since 2003, but he does have a good debut win record in later season but
normally over 7f).
Debut winners over 8f seem to be generally higher class horses, as a group.
The majority over the last 3 years have proved to be better than OR80 handicappers
as older horses and a good number have been OR95+. 2007 was a notable year
in this regard with just 15 horses winning over 8f on debut. They included
- Twice Over, Look Here, Michita, Tajaaweed, General Eliot, Makaaseb, Spell
Caster who have made their mark at 3yo to varying degrees and Comeback
Queen (Listed winner) & Hilbre Court (dual winner) who made their mark
further at 2yo. The others were Mukhber, Bright Falcon, Comeback Queen,
Cruel Sea, Captain Webb & Wintercast. Although this was a notably good
year the standard of 8f debut winners in the long term is well above average.
The trainers with odd wins at 8f have tended to be with higher class horses
who could win on natural ability.
The two tracks where 8f debut winners are most numerous are Newmarket (by
sheer quantity of later season races, divided maidens etc.) and, more interestingly
Nottingham. That course has produced 4 debut winners (spread over September
& October) in each of the last 3 seasons (i.e. 4 of 15 in 2007 for
example). Two possible factors in this are the type of fields the course
attracts and the long straight which tends to spread fields out by ability
quite well (and give the odd clueless one time to grasp the plot). Being
seen as a flat, and fair, track, it attracts runners from the bigger southern
yards who are useful, if not higher class, and they can see off the local
& nothern slow boats. Michael Stoute's two debut wins at the distance
in the last two year's have been at Nottingham.