Outside alley gives Danacourt the edge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am

The barrier draw statistics for races down the 1,000 metres chute when the movable rail is in the C+3 position clearly underline why the John Size-trained Hong Kong debutant Danacourt holds an advantage in the third event under lights at Sha Tin tonight.

The outside four gates on this course provide 35 per cent of the winners, while alleys one to four account for just 16 per cent. Those figures are maintained, in relative terms, when you look at the quinella strike rates, with gates 11 to 14 filling the quinella spot 73 per cent of the time (from a possible 200 per cent) while one to four are there just 40 per cent of the time.

Danacourt, to be ridden by Douglas Whyte, has looked a very smart horse in his work and barrier trials, and little wonder when you see his New Zealand form.

Danacourt was formerly trained by the husband-and-wife partnership of Chris and Colleen Wood, and won effortlessly at his first start over 1,100 metres in a three-year-old maiden at Te Aroha on October 6 last year.

The margin was a whopping 93/4 lengths, which may have been accentuated because of the prevailing soft ground.

However, Danacourt came out at his second start three weeks later and won again, this time on a yielding course and by 11/4 lengths in an open three-year-old race.

It didn't take long for the offers to come flooding in after those two dominating displays and Danacourt was ultimately sold to Mr and Mrs Chow Kay-yui, and arrives in the SAR unbeaten.

Danacourt's latest trial over 1,200 metres on the all-weather track had the look of a sure-fire winner. To fault him, Danacourt might have wanted to go too keenly, but Whyte ultimately coaxed him into a more relaxed state and he hit the line full of energy in a most impressive display.