Will Duff Gordon, CEO of Total Performance Data, looks at the stride data of Too Darn Hot and Sangarius ahead of Saturday's Darley Dewhurst Stakes.
Four weeks ago at Doncaster's St Leger meeting we witnessed two of the most impressive two-year-old performances of the season.
First, on the Friday Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius impressed when winning the seven furlong Flying Scotsman Stakes and then 24 hours later John Gosden's Too Darn Hot proved to be just that, comfortably landing the Champagne Stakes over the same distance.
Within seconds of the latter’s victory comparisons were being made and opinions were split on which had been more impressive. Social media was full of reasons why one performance was more impressive than the other.
This Saturday, in one of the most anticipated renewals of the Dewhurst Stakes of recent years, racing fans will get to see who is best. At least over seven furlongs.
For while they both won impressively over the same distance on the same course less than one day apart, the TPD data suggests that they may, in the longer term, have different futures ahead of them.
The data below highlights the differences in the two horses' performances.
The first and most obvious difference is the winning time. Whilst perhaps as visually impressive as the Champagne Stakes winner, Sangarius finished his race 2.63 seconds slower.
Admittedly, the ground the day before was described a little slower but the time difference can be equated to a distance between the two at the line of 16 lengths or nearly 37 metres.
The second thing to notice is the difference in stride length and cadence. Of all the two-year-olds that raced on Town Moor during the St Leger meeting, Sangarius stood out for both the vastness of his stride (26.5 ft) and the relatively slow speed with which he turned said stride over (2.19sec).
Such information suggests that over the seven furlongs of Saturday’s Dewhurst he may not be seen to best effect, but will in fact prove to be even better once campaigned over longer distances.
Too Darn Hot, on the other hand, had a much shorter (24.7ft), faster (2.40sec) stride which would suggest, for now, that he is best equipped to race over distances like the one he will be tackling at Newmarket on Saturday.
Aidan O’Brien has trained four of the last five winners of this race so his Galileo colt Anthony Van Dyck is sure to have a say, as will Martyn Meade’s Advertise.
But if we get the match that we’ve been waiting for and the two colts at the head of the market battle it out, then the data suggests that for me, in the words famously sung by Ella Fitzgerald, It’s Too Darn Hot.