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About The Sectional Timing Flag


A horse’s finishing position and overall time does not necessarily reflect its ability. Many of the factors affecting this, such as bad luck in running or unsuitability to the circumstances, may require a large degree of interpretation, but the efficiency with which a horse ran its race can be analysed more scientifically.

Sectional-timing analysis considers how an overall time was achieved, and not just what that overall time was, by using times for sections of the race along the way. Some of these sectional times are provided electronically, but Timeform augments these extensively with times taken from video analysis and live at the course.

As explained in the free-to-download booklet “Sectional Timing: An Introduction by Timeform”, the difference between a horse’s relative speed in a sectional and the par for that course and distance can be used to upgrade the performance.

Horses which run close to efficiently, or totally efficiently, get little or no upgrade to the ability implied by their overall time. But horses which run inefficiently will get marked up greater or lesser amounts according to the degree to which they differed from par.

This process has identified some superior performers long before it became more widely appreciated: horses such as Limato, Golden Horn and Western Hymn. But it applies every bit as much to run-of-the-mill racing, in which a horse apparently finishing quickly or slowly may be doing notably well or being flattered within the context of the race.

Visual race-reading has long sought to identify such horses. Sectional-timing analysis not only formalises this approach in a way which leaves little room for ambiguity, it quantifies the degree to which a horse has been assisted or inconvenienced by the run of a race, so that meaningful conclusions can be carried forward with confidence.

The Sectional Flag is attributed to a select number of horses which have been identified, through sectionals, as of particular interest. Over and above having shaped better than the result in a recent race, such horses are likely to have sectional ratings (their timefigure upgraded as a result of sectionals) which suggest they are potential winners in the future.

In addition, a degree of subjective filtering is undertaken, so that a horse with a stand-out sectional is not automatically put forward if, for instance, it has proved itself to be an unreliable proposition who often flatters to deceive.

The upshot is a unique list of horses whose merit may well be underappreciated by the public, due to information of which they may even be unaware, and from which the sectional flag is prompted.

Royal Ascot week with the Sectional Flag

Gutaifan WON 1.65 Time Test WON 2.95 Ervedya WON 4.72 Direct Times WON 2.69
Celtic Sixpence WON 10.19 Space Age WON 12.5 Arab Dawn WON 7.00  
Washington DC WON 7.33 Tumbaga WON 2.06 Mahsoob WON 2.8 Winners Jun 14-20 inclusive
Dhahmaan WON 1.89 Muhaarar WON 14.74 No Delusion WON 5.77 All prices BSP

13 winners from 39 runners! 37.29 points profit at BSP, 26.41 points profit at ISP!

Follow The Flags

Flags and ratings are exclusively available in Timeform Race Cards and Race Passes.


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1st Jason Hart silk 6. ARROWZONE 8/19
2nd Joe Fanning silk ½ 1. AQUA LIBRE 22/123
3rd David Probert silk ½ 4. BIG BAD LOL (IRE) 4/15
J: Jason Hart  
T: Kevin Frost  
12 ran. NRs: 7 


1st Adam Kirby silk 4. MARTINEO 7/18
2nd Luke Morris silk nk 8. KUPA RIVER (IRE) 15/82.87f
J: Adam Kirby  
T: Paul D'Arcy  
7 ran. NRs: 1  7 


1st Joe Fanning silk 3. STAR ASCENDING (IRE) 5/16
2nd Eoin Walsh silk nk 5. ICE CANYON 11/26.5
3rd Phil Dennis silk 9. FLOOD DEFENCE (IRE) 7/24.5
J: Joe Fanning  
All 10 ran.


1st Adam Kirby silk 5. FEARSOME 5/23.5
2nd Luke Morris silk 5 3. TECHNOLOGICAL 10/34.33
3rd Martin Harley silk 2 4. THAQAFFA (IRE) 8/19
J: Adam Kirby  
All 8 ran.


1st Shane Kelly silk 8. MANFADH (IRE) 40/141
2nd Luke Morris silk 2 1. CAPTAIN DAN (IRE) 5/23.5
3rd James Sullivan silk ¾ 10. KING OF NAPLES 40/141
J: Shane Kelly  
10 ran. NRs: 12  2  9 


1st Tony Hamilton silk 4. WAR TIGER (USA) 3/14
2nd Adam Kirby silk 2. KINVER EDGE (USA) 4/111.36f
5 ran. NRs: 3 


1st Ben Sanderson silk 1. YOLO AGAIN (IRE) 40/141
2nd Rossa Ryan silk sh 3. WEDDING DATE 10/111
3rd Finley Marsh silk hd 2. UNCLE JERRY 7/24.5jf
J: Ben Sanderson (5)  
T: Roger Fell  
8 ran. NRs: 8 


1st Cameron Noble silk 3. HEATHERDOWN (IRE) 15/82.87f
2nd Tony Hamilton silk ½ 2. MICRONIZE (IRE) 7/18
2nd Liam Keniry silk 0 7. MACS BLESSINGS (IRE) 18/119
J: Cameron Noble (5)  
T: Michael Bell  
11 ran. NRs: 11 


1st Henry Brooke silk 1. EMERALD CHIEFTAN (IRE) 4/15
2nd Thomas Dowson silk 7 6. BERTIE BLAKE (IRE) 11/82.37f
3rd Mr Charlie Todd silk 17 8. MILLROSE BELL (IRE) 25/126
J: Henry Brooke  
8 ran. NRs: 4 
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