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Performance metrics: why Leighton Aspell will be key to Dominateur's Towton bid

I quite fancy Dominateur to win the William Hill Towton Novices' Chase (2.45) at Wetherby. It is believed that his form is the best on offer. He is certainly progressive and he has won his last four completed starts.

There is one problem. He looks a bit of a plodder. That much can be told by eye, but whether he would be vulnerable in a more steadily run contest is not for certain on viewing his last two wins alone.


Watch: Dominateur's win at Chepstow


This is where sectionals come in, specifically furlong-by-furlong sectionals provided by Total Performance Data. More basic sectionals, like finishing speed percentage, could only go so far in showing how a horse changes pace. They are better for showing, for instance, how much of a test of stamina a race was.

The attached graph shows how Dominateur's win at Chepstow last time panned out, relative to the sectional pars. There is a notable injection of pace a mile out. They had already been going at a reasonable gallop, so things start to plateau well into the long home straight.

The little kick at the end could be key. It shows that only Dominateur, who led after the last, was truly going forward at the line. This shows just how strong a stayer he is, while some credit should also go to Leighton Aspell who was happy to let him get there gradually. Asking him to do things more quickly may have backfired.

Aspell could be the deciding factor in the Towton. He would have to spot a muddling pace in plenty of time to do something about it, otherwise his mount may get done for speed. If he is on the ball and has Dominateur right there halfway up the straight, it is hard to see anyone outlasting him.


All data courtesy of Total Performance Data, whose tracking covers more than 20 courses in the UK and North America


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Keith MelroseBetting editor

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