Surprise winner I’ll Have A Bit’s fast sectional times suggest she should not be overlooked again

I’ll Have A Bit (Smart Missile), at odds of $151, was obviously a surprise winner to most when she dashed home to claim Saturday’s Euclase Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) at Morphettville but an examination of her sectional times suggests that her victory was far from being a one-off performance. The John McArdle-trained three-year-old
filly, settled at the tail of the 11-horse field from her outside barrier, went widest of all at the home turn before coming with a strong late run to score by a neck, going away.

I’ll Have A Bit ran the 1200 metre journey in 1:09.13 on the Soft 5 track, which was 0.6 seconds faster than the 1:09.19 multiple Group One-winning filly Shoals (Fastnet Rock) recorded later in the day in taking out the UBET Classic (registered as Robert Sangster Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m). In addition, I’ll Have A Bit also returned faster closing sectional times than Shoals, who was most impressive in her late-closing victory in a highly regarded race. I’ll Have A Bit being timed to run her final 1000 metres in 53.75, last 800 metres in 42.94, last 600 metres in 32.35, last 400 metres in 22.07 with her final 200 metres in 11.24. Shoals’ times for the same final sections were: last 1000 metres in 54.17, last 800 metres in 43.38, last 600 metres in 32.95, last 400 metres in 22.33, with her final 200 metres in 11.48.

Until Saturday, I’ll Have A Bit was the winner of one race in 12 starts and in two runs this preparation she had finished eighth and fifth. But like her sectional times, a closer examination of her form showed that I’ll Have A Bit had mixed in good company in most of her races and her sole win was in fact the National Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) at Morphettville in May last year. And in those 12 prior starts, eight had been at stakes level, including a second in the Fillies’ Classic (Gr 2, 1600m) at Moonee Valley last October.

So clearly, I’ll Have A Bit really had the credentials to be rated with more respect in the betting despite tackling a high-class field that included Group One-placed colt Viridine (Poet’s Voice) and the well-regarded Nature Strip (Nicconi), a winner of four of his prior six starts. I’ll Have A Bit’s trainer has since demonstrated his confidence in the filly, advising that she will now tackle Saturday week’s The Goodwood (Gr 1, 1200m) at Morphettville where she is guaranteed a start aftr taking out the Euclase Stakes.

Story by Ken Boman, ANZ Bloodstock News