Ned Pepper and Purdey’s Gift – Wolverhampton 17th October 2019
The ride the Alan King trained Ned Pepper received from Tom Queally in this 1 mile 4 furlong Class 5 Wolverhampton handicap caused a few raised eyebrows post-race!
In analysing this race and marking Ned Pepper as a horse to follow, I’ve gone through 3 steps.
My initial reaction watching the race was Ned Pepper had been given a quiet ride out the back, finished strongly in the final 2 furlongs and could have probably won with a more aggressive ride, particularly in the earlier stages.
Then watching the race back again several times, I wondered if he had merely stayed on past tired horses who had overexerted early in the race. Had the early pace in the race set by Mojave been overly fast. Mojave dropped out tamely to be beaten 28 ¼ lengths by the finish. 2 other horses who had been prominent early on Adams Park and Ad Libitum faded badly in the closing stages of the race too. Had this enhanced the visual impression created.
Commentators and race readers often say things like “quickened in the final furlong to win”, when in fact the horses are going slower in the final furlong than any other segment of the race. The human eye can deceive us, that’s where sectional timings can give us a better insight.
Sectional times of the Ned Pepper race
Total Performance Data provide sectional timings at a number of the UK race tracks. These are posted on the Attheraces website and a great tool when analysing the form. The data for the Wolverhampton race can be found here.
What we can learn from the sectionals of this race was that the race was run at an average early pace for the first 4 furlongs. The pace then dropped between 8 furlongs to 4 ½ furlongs out to a below-average speed before quicken in the final 4 furlongs of the race.
This tells us Mojave hadn’t gone off too quick early and used up too much energy before the later stages. He’d be one to oppose on this showing next time out. The way the race was run should have suited his prominent race position.
The sectional splits of this race would see horses held up off the pace disadvantaged. With this information, I’d now be pretty confident in saying Ned Pepper would have been seen to better advantage if racing closer to the pace early on.
Sectional times for the final 2 furlongs
It’s worth noting that both Ned Pepper and the winner Purdey’s Gift were quickening in the final 2 furlongs of the race.
Ned Pepper posted his 2 fastest fractions in the final 2 furlongs of the race, covering those 2 furlongs in a quick 23.80 seconds. Likewise, Purdey’s Gift completed this part of the race at his fastest speed recorded, albeit in a slightly slower 24.05 seconds.
Purdey’s Gift, like Ned Pepper, was held up in the early stages and disadvantaged by the way the pace of the race unfolded. He is also one to be on the lookout for in his next few races.
Profiles of Ned Pepper and Purdey’s Gift
The profiles of Ned Pepper and Purdey’s Gift are similar.
Both hail from stables that progress their horses steadily, Alan King and Andrew Balding, on average their horses improve for racing.
Both horses have had just 5 runs to date and are open to further progress. Both have middle distance pedigrees and have before this Wolverhampton race been running over distances that are likely to prove short of their optimum.
I like both these horses and have them as horses to follow. I’m confident that both will rate significantly higher in time than they have already shown to date.