The Albert Bartlett has been a tricky race to asses with the ground changing after the race from “soft” to “good to soft” for it to only change back again for the final race. The figures below suggest that there was not much difference in the ground between Thursday and Friday. However, as we have established previously in these posts it’s not to be heavily relied upon comparing over two days.
Time Figures and pace of the race
The above shows the figures are taken from the landing side of the first hurdle and at the landing side of every other hurdle thereafter, focusing on the winner Monkfish and the second, Latest Exhibition.
The reason for focusing on those two, in particular, is to get an overall feel of the pace of the race. Monkfish was ridden very prominently and led for a large portion of the race and was never out of the first three, this allows us to see the pacemakers figures.
Latest Exhibition was ridden in midfield around 3/4 lengths off the pace at times but forward enough to use his time figure to see if those ridden on the front end have benefitted from their racing position by either slowing the pace or injecting.
*Disclaimer: There are other times I have recorded but not posted.
The above shows us that there are no scrutinies in the splits between hurdles (right column) to suggest that the leaders went anything other than a fair and solid gallop after the first three hurdles. The leaders simply maintained the pace right through to the finish line suggesting that the race was run at a true gallop. The splits highlighted in green show the horse that had run the fastest time between hurdles but these are only fractional between the winner and runner up until the final flight to the finish line where the winner, Monkfish, is more than 1/2 a second quicker than his rival.
The pace overall was a solid one and with the right horses coming to the fore there is no reason to think that it cannot be relied upon.
On the clock – Three to two
Thyme Hill, Latest Exhibition and Fury Road jumped the third last flight in a line racing 3 3/4 lengths off the overall leader and around 1 length behind Monkfish. A few strides later and Thyme Hill and Latest Exhibition are level pegging with Monkfish as he struggles to get to grips with the downhill turn whilst Fury Road begins to get outpaced and short of room.
Thyme Hil position jumping 3rd last behind Monkfish
Thyme Hill and Richard Johnson posted a wide course and almost jumped level with new leader Monkfish at the second last flight. Thyme Hill posted the fastest figure from three out to the second last of the front finishing five with a time of 47.17 seconds.
On the clock – Two to one
Thyme Hill ultimately found himself five wide on the turn into the home straight so its no surprise that he then clocked the second slowest time from two out to the final flight.
There are obviously other mitigating factors that contribute to this which we will discuss down below.
It was Fury Road who ran the fastest time from the 2nd last to the finish line recording a figure of 38.65. He was, however, only 0.20 seconds quicker than Monkfish and 0.30 seconds quicker than Latest Exhibition.
On the clock – One to finish
After the last flight unsurprisingly it was Monkfish who finished the strongest clocking a time of 14.15 to seal the win. Just under half a second quicker than the unfortunate Thyme Hill.
On the clock – Overall three out to the finish in numbers
Janidil produced the slowest time from three out to the finish line despite catching the eye coming into the home straight but his time between the last and the finish line was much slower than the other four.
3. Mitigating factors
Of course, the clock is all well and good to be able to explain the pace of the race and confirm or put to bed any theory’s the eyes may have seen, but it does not count for mitigating factors.
In this case, Monkfish made a serious error over the eighth hurdle nearly causing him to unseat his rider. At this point in the race, the sectionals tell us that Latest Exhibition made ground on his rival when he ran a quicker time between the 8th and 9th hurdle. It was also clear that Monkfish was keen and taking a pull for the first six hurdles. If you take those factors out of the equation then Latest Exhibition has not run one spit quicker than Monkfish has (a pinch of salt but theoretically). Monkfish was always prominent in the race run at a solid tempo, the other horses who shared similar positions throughout the race finished in 8th (House Island) PU (Cobblers Way) PU (Lieutenant Rocco). The second and third came from midfield positions while the fourth and fifth were both held up.
Latest Exhibition was another that was keen in the early to the middle part of the race.
Failed to handle downhill run and was short of room between 3-2.
Thyme Hill was five wide at 2 from home and was blocked in running approaching the last with the rider unable to use his whip. He switched wide and then had the door closed on him again by Fury Road inside the final furlong and was unable to reel in the leaders.
4. Race conclusion
The right horses came to the fore and they pulled themselves well clear of some strong confirmed stayers in this field with the form likely to hold strong. Given some previous back form its likely that the front 5 gave their running.
The unfortunate horse in the race was Thyme Hill and it’s very likely he would have won the race but for the mitigating factors, we mention above. The clock supports that theory with him clocking the fastest sectional timing from 3-2 and then only a fraction shy of his rivals from 2-1 and given the fact he was denied a clear run and his rider was unable to use his whip it’s likely he could have run faster at that point in the race. He posted a time quicker 3-finish than the second horse Latest Exhibition one who had things go his way in the latter stages of the race. Thyme Hill galloped all the way to the line suggesting that he got the trip well.
Monkfish, however, proved himself a worthy winner with a gutsy attitude and one that was able to maintain a high pace throughout the race and that should not be underestimated given that Thyme Hill came from further back than he did. My opinion is, is that those are the two to take out of the race going forward with BOTH likely to take to fences very well next season.
I’m no paddock judge but Monkfish needs to be kept a close eye on, he caught my attention in the paddock. His back might not yet have caught up with the front and he will be interesting to see after the summer break.
How the closing sectionals compared over the two days
Make of this what you will guys but below is how the closing times of the Albert Bartlett compare with those across the two days. (Ground is tricky).