Topcat Video Cups’ surprisingly wide victory margins

WHEN the new staying sensation Burn One Down streeted his rivals by a massive nine lengths in taking out the final of the Topcat Video Cup (Group 3) over 725 metres at the Meadows on September 24, the focus, naturally enough, was on the race record time of 42.33, which eclipsed the previous race record of 42.46 which had been set in 2013 by Amity Flame.

A week earlier, Burn One Down had run a sensational 42.29 to take out his heat. That time compares pretty favourably to Space Star’s track record of 41.93, set in February last year. As far as I’m aware, only Nellie Noodles (42.03), Amity Bale (42.27), Sweet It Is (42.27), Mantra Lad (42.28) and Sargent Major (42.28) have gone faster.

The Topcat Video Cup was inaugurated in 2009 as a Group 3 event over 600 metres. Run in January, the first event was snared narrowly by Coulta Sky.

From 2010 onwards the race has been switched to the 725 metres trip and moved to September.

Naturally, being a Group event – although it was downgraded to just a special event for the 2011 running – and worth $25,000 to the winner, the Topcat Video Cup has attracted some of the best stayers in the country.

Yet in four of the seven finals since 2010, the winner has scored by the kind of margin you expect to see in a lopsided maiden or fifth grade. This is not a criticism of the race, it’s just that the Topcat Video Cup has thrown up a higher percentage of huge winning margins than any other major race in the country, albeit that there have only been seven runnings so far.

In 2011, the winner was Bling It On who defeated Granduer by seven and three-quarter lengths for trainer John Westerlo, setting a race record 42.64.

A year later and the great Western Australian stayer Miata blew away her perennial rival Irma Bale to the tune of eight lengths, running a race record 42.56. This was after she had been defeated in her heat the week before, by Fyna Bale.

In 2013 the Anthony Flores-owned and trained Amity Flame officially won the race by 9.63 lengths from Turkoglu with Dyna Werribee a further 5.58 lengths back in third position. Amity Flame established a race record time of 42.46.

Now, this year, we see Burn One Down obliterate his opposition in a nine-lengths romp.

Being nerdish, the average winning margin for winners of the 725-metre Topcat Video Cup’s is currently 5.41 lengths. By way of comparison, the average winning margin for the last seven Sandown Cup’s is about 2.18 lengths, a significant difference.