Races / 16.05.2022
A four-letter word that is already changing our lives: data. Especially in high level sport. In Formula 1, football or even basketball, to name but a few, technology has become essential, especially for players, in analyzing performance and enhancing the value of an athlete.
After being late on the subject for a long time, France Galop has finally taken into account the importance of the subject by making tracking available to everyone on its racetracks (and beyond, in the regions). These data are incredibly rich and allow a detailed analysis of the course of the races. They are now essential for better understanding what happened, explaining defeats or even planning for the future. We asked Bruno Barbereau, the best French specialist in speed, to come back for us on Poules Sunday and explain to us how Mangoustine and Modern Games imposed themselves.
Longchamp, tied at zero, good ground… what the tracking says
When we spoke to him on the phone on Monday afternoon, Bruno Barbereau had taken the time, as he has done for twenty years, to reprocess (reanalyze) the times for each of the horses. His method is very well established, but it has become even more precise since French tracking is perfectly reliable. And for him, things are clear: we have attended two beautiful Poules d’Essai.
“The times of the two races are very good, in the ten best times achieved by 3-year-olds at Longchamp in May for 40 years. If we take males and females together, the ideal time is 95”07. Modern Games’ time is particularly good: 94”98, the fourth best time since 1982 for a 3-year-old, in May, at Longchamp, the record being Victory Note in 94”50. The elements lent themselves to good times: the course of the 1,600m long track of Longchamp, a fast track and a string to zero. We can criticize the Hens at Longchamp, but they are tough horses, who know how to take hits, recover, and who know how to accelerate: maybe that’s good too, isn’t it? »
Mangostine owes nothing to anyone
Mangosteen (Dark Angel) won the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches by a head ahead Stamp (Aclaim), the winner of the 1,000 Guineas of Newmarket a fortnight ago, where she took the race at a breakneck pace. She led again on Sunday: “We certainly have a homogeneous lot on the side of the fillies, several have been served by their string number. Hats off to Cachet: she led in the Pool, a fortnight after a death race at Newmarket, and she is second despite everything. With one more week of recovery, I think she could have won. A little word for Rosacea (Soldier Hollow), fourth by taking a buffer at the worst possible moment, when the race started on the straight… And it was difficult to catch up with that: when the race was gone, it was gone…
Mangoustine had just been a little unlucky in the Prix de la Grotte and, on Sunday, she was 100%. Despite a thick course with the nose to the wind, she managed to win because she was in the right place when the race started to come and beat everyone at the post. Mikel Delzangles did a great job with her: I think a lot of people have forgotten her track record. There is enough to get up at night! When he races a horse in a Gr1, he is 100%. »
However, has Cachet set enough pace to allow the wait-and-sees to return? For Bruno Barbereau, yes: “If we find that there was not enough rhythm in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, it is actually a problem of distance, which was too long for the fillies concerned. Some were served by their rope number and were taken back on the way out: on good ground at Longchamp, there is no point in taking it back! Because, in front, it bombs right away and that amounts to losing 100m… And you can’t do those 100m again! For example, Sicilian Defense is taken from the start and is for me the fifth best score in Corsica. Osmose also signs magnificent partials but it was last in the course. A filly like Times Square (Zarak) almost won by advancing and taking advantage of her 3 in the stalls and she has some toughness. I think we saw some good fillies in the Poule d’Essai and some of the beats will win a nice one. »
Modern Games clearly the best
As for the foals, the tracking data provided by France Galop is fascinating: we set off at a pace worthy of the Kentucky Derby! The fastest part of the race is that of Tribalist (Farhh), from 1,400 to 1,200m in 10”90, a peak of 66 km/h. For the Colts, there were lessons from the Fillies… We had to move forward!
Bruno Barbereau: “At the Poulains, we got off to the start very quickly. After the fillies, everyone saw that it was better to move quickly from the start, even if it meant taking the risk of “dying” to finish, rather than not being able to come back. We note in particular the partial of Tribalist: Mickaël Barzalona has experience in Great Britain and knew how it was going to happen with the British present and, with the ace, he advanced on leaving to keep his place. We also note that with Texas (Wootton Bassett), who was starting from stall 15, the choice was made to advance immediately at the start of the course: and he was far! He is beaten by Modern Games (Dubawi), which was above the lot. Already, it should be noted that the colt almost fell when the stalls opened, he was on his knees and he was able to get up and get going again immediately, then resume to take a wake, then get going again in the straight line : he is a colt hardened by Charlie Appleby, who took him to the Breeders’ Cup at 2 years old. We must stop believing that, to make horses last, we must preserve them at all costs! Charlie Appleby has announced that he could run the Prix du Jockey Club: he’s right, he will be very difficult to beat. He’s a really good colt. Behind, we had a slew of unfortunate foals, who took blows. This is the case, for example, of the assault ** (Almanzor): in a race like the Poule d’Essai, you have to know how to take hits and he doesn’t know how to do it yet. You can re-race ten times, Modern Games will win all ten times. For the fillies, I am less positive, we have a more homogeneous group but it is of a good level. »