The pace angle: who would be favoured by a slower clip in the Hungerford?

Glorious Journey (centre) has returned striding figures commensurate with a Group sprinter
Glorious Journey (centre) has returned striding figures commensurate with a Group sprinter

If Sir Dancealot wins the Unibet Hungerford Stakes he will become the first horse in 50 years to double up in Britain's premier open-age 7f race.

It is perhaps a bit surprising to learn, therefore, that he strides like a miler. Sir Dancealot's average strides per second has been measured at 2.18, much lower than that of the average 7f runner, which is 2.30.

Less frequent strides are generally associated with stamina: some sprinters can turn over 2.60 strides per second, stayers can go nearly as low as 2.00.

Incidentally, two of Sir Dancealot's three runs at a mile have been in Group 1s, so it could be argued he has had insufficient opportunity at the longer distance.

It also goes some way to explaining why Sir Dancealot is said to be in need of a strong pace at 7f. Horses who do not stride so quickly tend not to be the best at accelerating. Sir Dancealot got a good pace to run at in the Lennox Stakes last time and duly swept past Hey Gaman, whose strides/second measure (2.20) also suggests he could do as well up at a mile.

If the ground at Newbury comes up testing, as is forecast, a strong pace seems less likely. Such an instance could play into the hands of a speedier sort with a quicker stride. Glorious Journey could fit the bill.

His average strides/second measure, taken at Windsor when he was second to Dream Of Dreams, was 2.38. The data would suggest that, counter to his pedigree, the move down in trip from a mile this year was an ingenious one.

The figures say the Hungerford Stakes could come down to pace. If Hey Gaman and Donjuan Triumphant go hard it could well suit the former and Sir Dancealot again. If they are cautious on softer ground they may all rue not nullifying Glorious Journey's change of gear.

All data courtesy of Total Performance Data, whose tracking covers more than a dozen courses in the UK and North America

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