Preview – NZ Oaks – Addington 520m Thursday 26 April 2018
After a midweek feast of racing and sports yesterday, the action doesn’t stop. Tonight, we have the highlight on the racing calendar for the young female dogs, the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks.
After five heats, the top qualifiers are set to battle it out. While there is disappointment that one of the top performers from last week, Sheza Rippa, has been scratched, there’s still a lot of interest especially after the effort of Cawbourne Krusty in the heats.
The inside boxes have an advantage with nearly 18% of winners coming from box 1 and a further 15% in box 2.
At the other end of the spectrum, less than 30% of winners come out of the outside three boxes (everything being equal we would expect 37.5%).
While box stats are important, what’s critical is the “in run position” – the position of each runner during the race. A massive 71% of winners will be in the first two at the winning post the first time around. Conversely just 10% of runners win from further back than fourth.
The stats above underline how important running position is in any race and clearly box speed is key to that.
The challenge with analysing this particular race is comparing past form. At the one end, second favourite Hilton Forabet is a class 5 dog with over 40 runs under her belt while Goldstar Marvelly has been to the races 50 times previously. At the other end, Cawbourne Krusty is having just her 9th start and has been racing in lower class races.
While the speed map shows there could be a number of possible leaders, what the speed map does confirm is the challenge faced by Bigtime Mia, Cawbourne Taylor and Goldstar Marvelly. All three map to be slow out of the boxes and their odds reflect their likely chances.
We can also use the sectional data from the heats. Last week, the dogs with the two fastest opening sectionals were Hilton Forabet and Invincible Sue. Hilton Forabet also has a much more favourable draw this week.
It would be easier to have a crack at selections after the start! The start as we say repetitively is important in any greyhound race but will be critical in this race.
Cawbourne Krusty showed amazing power in the last half of the race to destroy her rivals in the heats. She ran a top time in doing so, rating 89 in her first start at Addington. Invincible Sue is the only dog who has run faster at Addington.
Her rating of 89 is almost 20 rating points better than any of the runners has managed in their last 6 starts, with the sole exception of Hilton Forabet.
So Cawbourne Krusty does appear to have a clear class advantage over the field. However, that is entirely reliant on her making a safe start and that is not guaranteed. In the heat, she was just the fourth out of the boxes. She hasn’t lead out the boxes in her last three starts and this is the toughest field she has faced. While she’s unbeaten from boxes 5 and 7 (1 for 1 in both cases), box 6 could still make things interesting. She has the ability to make up a lot of ground in the closing sectional so long as she doesn’t run into trouble at the start.
Almost at the other extreme, Hilton Forabet has been racing in C5 fields and couldn’t buy an inside draw. She showed in the heat a real appreciation for the ease of class and as we noted had the top opening sectional in the heats. In the heats, she drew 5 but tonight has the prized box 1. With a start similar to last week, she could well get be on the pace and then Krusty will have to chase her down.
Of the other runners, they will likely need both the favourites to find ill fortune. Cawbourne Taber (2) and Invincible Sue (4) would appear to the runners with the box speed to put themselves in the race. Bigtime Lily did win her heat and box 8 could well be a bonus but her heat was the slowest of the five times.
While Cawbourne Krusty is the clearly top rated dog, there’s enough doubts that I would want to have some cover in the quaddie and specifically Hilton Forabet. I think she is backable around her current price of $2.70 but is no sure thing with her box draw and the box speed across the field.