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The Captain Earns His Rank

Golden Loom achieved highest rating

Captain Of All seen winning his farewell appearance

Captain Of All seen winning his farewell appearance

Saturday’s Gr1 Mercury Sprint winner Captain Of All has been accorded a merit rating of 126 following his scintillating farewell performance when scoring his third career Gr1 victory from 12 starts.

This places him alongside the legendary Jet Master on the table of best ratings, since the MR system was introduced.

Captain Of All is due to take up duties at Klawervlei Stud shortly.


Golden Loom – with the late Buddy Maroun

The all-time highest rating was achieved by sprinting superstar Golden Loom, who twice won the Gr1 Computaform Sprint; was second once and third twice.

The brilliant brown gelding – known as Goofy- was the king of speed on the Highveld in a golden age of sprinting. He raced for nine seasons and chalked up his final race victory at the ripe age of 10. In all, he had 78 starts, won 22 of them and was placed 37 times, for a stakes haul of R2.8-million.

He was owned by the Benoni born and bred Raymond, Budwa and Michael Abrosie. The late Buddy Maroun trained the star sprinter for the brothers.

The top ratings:

Golden Loom 127
Jet Master 126
Captain Of All 126
Ruby Clipper 124
Fov’s Favourite 122
J J The Jet Plane 122
All Will Be Well 121
Pocket Power 121
Pylon 121
Uncle Tommy 121
What A Winter 121
Futura 120
Legal Eagle 120
Mythical Flight 120
Via Africa 120
Al Nitak 119
El Picha 119
Wylie Hall 119
Yard-Arm 119


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29 comments on “The Captain Earns His Rank

  1. Paulo says:

    All due respect. I rate Captain of All and I take nothing away from him. Top class and will probably make a top sire…but same rating as Jet Master? 1 point behind Goofy? 5 better then Pocket Power? Wow….I think handicappers are handing out points too freely. Fortunately he is going to stud…he might not win another off that mark.

    1. karel says:

      Paulo, you’d need to substantiate your comment. Why not that rating?

      1. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

        The Math is wrong. At the Weights there should have been a shorthead in it between Captain of All and Carry on Alice, slightly favouring Carry on Alice. So now Captain of All pulverises Carry on Alice by 4.5l…. he should have got 18pts or 18 half kilos….. so why only raise him 6 pts?

        1. karel says:

          Here’s the maths.

          Captain Of All won by 4.5 lengths, the equivalent of 10 MR points over 1200m in the official handicapper’s book.
          The four next horses finished within half a length of each other.
          Carry On Alice carried 57.0, or 6 points less than the winner.
          Legislate carried the same weight as the Captain.
          Fly By Night and African Dream carried 57.5kg, or 5 points less than the winner.

          The handicappers have made Fly By Night their line-horse, she had a pre-race MR 111 (Alice was 115).
          So the Captain becomes 111 + 10 + 5 = 126.
          Alice ran a 110, Legislate 116.

          The one question that then remains is, was it a true run race?
          Captain Of All’s racetime of 70.84 is the fastest winning 1200m time at Greyville this season (and second fastest in the last two seasons, after Varikate’s 70.50 in June 2014).

          1. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

            so why is alice a 115 still

          2. digby says:

            karel I know its a big ask but take your handicappers hat off for a minute. if you accept that weight for age is an equalizer – subject to conditions – track, weather and pace – then surely you can rank horses on where they finish ? so if alboran sea beats captain two out of two at wfa how can she be rated inferior to him ?. at the moment my argument – that alboran sea is demonstrably superior to captain of all at wfa – shows the handicapping methodology is totally flawed. please answer me that and I will go away because I really don’t understand.

          3. karel says:

            You say that your example shows that ‘the handicapping methodology is totally flawed’.
            Your assumption seems to be that when horses race against each other that they always run to their best ability, and that one performance should be as good as another.
            Not quite.
            Take Captain Of All and Alboran Sea and Carry On Alice.
            Cape Flying Ch’ship at WFA (1000m) – Alboran by a whisker from the Captain, with Alice a length back in third.
            Computaform Sprint at WFA (1000m) – Alboran Sea by a half from Alice, the Captain 4 lengths back in third.
            SA Fillies Sprint at WFA (1200m) – Alice beats Alboran Sea by 1 3/4, a nose ahead of Fly By Night
            Mercury Sprint at WFA (1200m) – Captain beats Alice and Fly By Night by 4 1/2, the fillies separated by half a length

          4. Steve Reid says:

            Nothing wrong with your arithmetic. The problem is not the maths literacy needed to be applied by the handicappers, the problem is the merit rating system. As Paulo says Captain of All rated alongside Jet Master and JJ and better than Pocket Power. Do me a favour. Similar scenario Pylon rated good enough to be a factor in the Kentucky Derby. Common sense out the window and this system exposed for the joke it can be.

          5. karel says:

            “the system exposed for the joke it can be” – it would be good if you could substantiate that comment.
            Ratings are derived from horses with ratings racing against each other in a race. The outcome allows for ratings to be calculated as a ‘best fit’, assuming races are true run.
            If the ratings aren’t working for Captain Of All, why do you then assume them to be correct for Pocket or Jet Master or JJ?
            If our MR system is a joke, then so is all international racing where ratings are used to set weights. The system is not any different.

            You might want to read up a bit here http://www.sportingpost.co.za/racings-secrets-revealed/
            and specifically here http://www.sportingpost.co.za/insight/mr-handicapping-works-no-bull/

          6. Steve Reid says:

            Karel you make the error of thinking that I do not understand how the MR system and handicapping works. I do. I just don’t believe that it is the correct handicapping system to use and have made my feelings known previously when you encouraged debate on the subject. I make no secret of the fact that I would far prefer the reintroduction of the Race Figure system than continuance of this current system. I am not communistic in my thoughts on how horses should be handicapped, and better horses should be given the advantage and not weighed down to, in theory at least, be handicapped to run on par with an inferior horse. Keeping moderate older horses competitive against up and coming younger horses just doesn’t make sense to me and this is common in many MR races. This was not an issue with the RF system. Perhaps I am too much of a purist in my thinking that superior horses shouldn’t be beaten by weight alone as if often the case now. I have made no mention of the human factor here. Incorrect line horses, handicappers opinion about ability, deliberate running below ability and/or distance to lower ratings etc, etc. We will have to agree to disagree on this one. Differences of opinion are after all the reason the sport exists. Regards the younger dinosaur

          7. karel says:

            Steve, in an ideal world there should be place for both MR handicapping and the old RF system (in effect a variation on plate & pinnacle racing). Unfortunately there aren’t enough races in the program to do this. Also, it appears that trainers shun the plate races for fear of getting ‘higher’ MR ratings (which would be deserved). Not all trainers are aware of the benefits and pitfalls of either of the ‘systems’ – if they were we’d be closer to the better world.

          8. Steve Reid says:

            Agree 100%

          9. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

            If 1 length equals 4 half kilos over a sprint( your merit rating articles says a typical handicapper would equate this) why was the 4.7 length beating only adjusted by 10 pts and not 18pts

          10. karel says:

            According to the NHRA website (Racing – Handicapping Guidelines; see page 14), the measure used by the official handicapper equates 4.5 lengths (up to 1200m) with 10 points.
            My scale and ratings are in English pounds and I use a somewhat different value for length/distance compared to Official.

          11. Extravagantlyhorseracing says:

            So then our Handicappers did get it wrong per your ratings. How does Captain of All rate compared to JJ, Variety Club etc in your ratings?

          12. karel says:

            Interesting question – this will set cat amongst pigeons

            Jet Master 128
            Ruby Clipper 126
            Golden Loom 125
            Horse Chestnut 125
            Mythical Flight 120
            El Picha 119
            What A Winter 119
            Captain Of All 118
            Eventuail 118
            J J The Jet Plane 118
            North By Northwest 118
            Classic Flag 117
            Futura 117
            London News 117
            National Emblem 117
            Variety Club 117
            Legal Eagle 116
            Pablo Zeta 116
            Pocket Power 116
            Yard-Arm 116

  2. digby says:

    level weights against mythical flight over 5 furlongs captain of all gets drilled.
    level weights against jj over 6 furlong same story.
    just look at the times.
    all his big wins over 6 furlong bar that 1000 at scotsville.
    beaten in cape flying and computerform.
    126 ?
    what does that make alboran sea ?
    she beat him twice fair and square
    and where is val de ra

    1. karel says:

      Digby, you need to substantiate your comments. Why not that rating?

  3. digby says:

    he couldn’t crack 56 seconds at turffontein or Kenilworth alboran sea did on both tracks beating him but she is 10 points below him. Paulo is right . super horse but the best since goofy ?
    no way

  4. digby says:

    surely times mean something ?

  5. digby says:

    sorry time at Kenilworth for alboran sea was 56 and a bit

  6. hilton witz says:

    karel how many 1200metre races at top division level have been run on the grass track at greyville this season?i agree with most on here 126 is way to high as he is nowhere near jj or jet master

  7. hilton witz says:

    i mean african dream ran right on top of the 2nd and 3rd and 4th horse and is now a mr 107 please there is definitly something wrong with the way the race has been rated

  8. Pmb says:

    Nothing wrong with the Math nor the rating for the race . Just suspect if he continued racing that figure would drop with every run and his true ability would have ended up being closer to the 120 he was on previously. Still top class

  9. Karel,

    as someone who times the races himself,what did you make of the fractions in this race?

    I’m not really a ‘time man'(and I don’t like cross-race referencing),but if you look at formgrids LBH tool you’ll see that Come Fly With Me(rated 92) ran 71.44 to win race 1.That means on a cross-reference basis,her time places her with the second best time of the day,about 3 lengths behind Captain Of All,and a length in front of Carry On Alice who was carrying 1,5kgs less.

    If you have the time for both races maybe you could give us both races,and therefore some conclusions.

    1. karel says:

      Warren, your observation is correct. I don’t have the splits handy right now, will come back on that.
      The thing with sprint races is that we’re talking fractions of a second and split decisions by jockeys. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from the comparison of the two separate events, other than that both races appear to have been true run sprints, and that the result should hold up in future events.

      There’s an interesting quote from Phil Bull, founder of Timeform, and a great time-man.
      “A fifth of a second lost per furlong in the first three furlongs of a five furlong race is imperceptible to an onlooker or a jockey, but it makes 0.60 seconds difference to the timefigure, or 15 lb in terms of weight”

      If only we had a proper sectional timing system in our backward country!

    2. karel says:

      Warren, these are splits for the two sprints you referred to. Remember that they are hand-timed off the screen, that’s the best we have available.
      Points to note before looking at the times. The only poles that could clearly be seen (and accurate) were the 1000m and 300m. The 600m pole used was the one on the poly track so this point was actually more than 600. The point used as the 400 is where they came off the false rail.

      Race 1: Come Fly With Me, drawn one, got a soft lead and made all
      1000 12.7
      600 32.7
      400 45.9
      300 52.2
      Finish 71.1

      Race 8: Captain Of All led at the start; there was bunching behind; Leglislate picked it up at around the 850
      1000 12.5
      600 32.5
      400 46.0
      300 52.3
      Finish 70.6

      Notes: Captain Of All, who won cosily, was drawn 7 and carried 60kg; Come Fly With Me was drawn 1 and carried 58.5.
      Steve Furnish looked at the times for all four 1200m races on the day, and suggests that given the track condition and other times the two races above could have been run faster, especially the Mercury.

      1. Blue Peter says:

        Mr Joostes Derby winner rated at 120. I believe this to be a tad on the high side. What chance on winning the MET or JULY. 3 yo classics = max 99 rating + 7 lbs for group races eg July Handicap.

  10. jarrad69 says:

    Thanks Karel.

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