Another week, and another Twitter storm over the percieved fixing of a certain race. A two-mile handicap at Wolverhampton on Wednesday was thrown into the spotlight after Dylan Hogan and Wanaasah led the field a merry dance. I’d like to give my own opinion on the debate, because rather than praising Dylan Hogan for an enterprising ride, we’re calling for bans for young apprentices learning their craft, and that isn’t right in my book. For All-Weather horse racing tips, check on site now!
An Enterprising Ride
There are plenty of reasons why we can deduce that the race at Wolverhampton was simply a case of an experienced apprentice showing the rest the way home. Straight from the gates, Dylan Hogan took Wanaasah to the front and established a very healthy advantage. With the other jockeys unable to keep tabs on the partnership in the early stages, he was able to get a breather into his horse on the final circuit without being pressured, allowing him to ease clear in the closing stages.
Many are asking why the other jockeys didn’t keep closer tabs on the leader, but the sectionals tell us all we need to know. His sectionals from sixteen furlongs to thirteen furlongs out were all recorded as “fast” and there were two key points in the race thereafter where his sectionals were recorded as “steady”. Those steadier periods are where Hogan expertly cooled the pace off, to allow his mount to get a breather. From seven furlongs to five furlongs out, he allowed his mount to start coasting for a second time, whereas the other horses in the race were starting to post their first “fast” sectionals of the contest. By that point, the bird had already flown, as Hogan once again hit the throttle at the five-furlong pole and was never going to be caught from there.
The key thing to remember is that because Hogan was able to build such an uncontested lead early, he was able to allow his mount to get a breather early in the race without losing any ground, and that is what ultimately won him the contest.
Wanaasah Was Stepping Up In Distance
Wanaasah was having her first attempt at the distance on Wednesday and David Loughnane was quick to say after the race that he was in no real doubt about her stamina. Once she had built such a commanding early advantage, she was never going to be caught once they hit the five-furlong pole, given her clear abundance of stamina. Until you step a horse up in distance, you’re never going to know how they’re going to really cope with it, and it’s very apparent that Wanaasah was in fact, a stayer in the making.
It Was An Apprentice Handicap
Yes, there were some other experienced apprentices in the contest, but the bare fact still remains, that this was a two-mile apprentice handicap. It was for jockeys still learning their craft, and Dylan Hogan has given them quite the lesson.
After the race, it was clarified that the beaten riders had thought the early pace was unsustainable and far too quick. They were right too, as the sectional times by Hogan’s mount prove. With the benefit of hindsight, I’m sure those jockeys would have put more pressure on Hogan at an early stage of the contest where he had steadied the pace down, but that is what apprentice races are for. Those jockeys are still learning their trade, and rather than beating them up for a perhaps small mistake they’ve made, let’s celebrate the sheer cheekiness and riding ability of Dylan Hogan, who has ridden them all to sleep with an early race masterclass.