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Tongue tie on the 1000 Guineas favourite – should we be worried?

By colin on Sunday, June 7th, 2020

Reviewing the 1000 Guineas today, I could not help but be drawn to the favourite, Quadrilateral, unbeaten daughter of Frankel, arguably the most impressive winner of the 2,000 Guineas, ever.

3/1 is on offer, a short enough price. But if she is anywhere near as good as Frankel, that’s a long price indeed!

But what is this in the declarations? First time tongue strap.

Should we be worried?

A little bit (ok quite a lot) of data manipulation in Smartform enables us to build a table of runner records with counts of when a tongue strap was applied, such that we can group records into all, tongue strap and first time tongue strap. A further grouping of these records by trainer reveals the following records for Roger Charlton, Quadrilateral’s own handler:

You’ll have to click on the image to see this properly, it’s a table View straight out of R, but long story short, rounding those figures to the nearest whole number, here’s the picture for Roger Charlton:

  • 17% overall win strike
  • 12% win strike when applying tongue strap
  • 9% win strike when applying first time tongue strap

So the answer to the question “Should we be worried?” has to be “Yes” (unless my rapid calculations have gone awry somewhere!). Does this mean the favourite can’t win? Of course not. But can’t be betting at such short odds, personally, with such doubts and no real explanation at hand.

The only references I can find from the trainer are his bullish sounding quote in today’s Post:

“We’re looking forward to it. She looks magnificent. She’s a big, strong filly and these are exciting times. I hope she can run as well as she did the last time she went to Newmarket.”

And the rather anodyne message from the trainer’s own blog:

“The fourth runner to head out is Quadrilateral at Newmarket in the ‘Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes’ for her owner Prince Khalid Abdullah. The daughter of Frankel had three runs as a two year old last season in which she maintained an unbeaten record throughout. It included the Group 1 ‘bet365 Fillies Mile’ at Newmarket which landed her with an official rating of 114. The race holds 15 competitive runners as to be expected and we have a draw of 6. Jason Watson takes the ride. She has wintered very well and remains a filly with an impressive physique, who holds her condition well. There is a little bit more rain expected between now and the race which won’t bother her and we are excited to get her on the track.”

Nothing about the reasoning behind the statistically negative tongue tie, which I suppose is to be expected in the run up to a big race with so much at stake.

Fingers crossed she runs well, but will have to take a watching brief, and will be looking elsewhere for some each way value.

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