The National Horseracing Authority of South Africa has confirmed an increase in domestic merit ratings with effect from 1 March 2018.
In a press release issued on 5 February, the NHA reports that over the last few racing seasons, a general decline in the Merit Ratings was observed, especially in relation to the large group of horses rated 70 and less.
Upon request, an analysis of average ratings of the racing population from August 2010 to present was undertaken.
Based on the research, the following was proposed:
- Increase the domestic population by 6 rating points; effective entries 1 March 2018. (The relativity between horses remains the same).
- The rating increase will “stretch” the population thereby reducing the “over-crowding” in the lower divisions.
- This will only affect domestic ratings. Domestic and International Ratings are not linked and are done separately.
- This adjustment will be effective on 1 March 2018 across the country.
The situation arose due to:
- Guidelines limiting upward rating adjustments.
- Race conditions restricting upward rating adjustment.
- More aggressive rating drops for non-performance.
- More cognizant dropping of young horses not making weight- for- age improvement.
- “Slippage” in handicap races. i.e. Where there are more downward adjustments than horses remaining the same or going up. Where this happens in large numbers; the ratings will tend to decrease over time.
These factors are under review.
The proposed increase was accepted by the industry representatives that attended a meeting in Johannesburg on 25 October 2017 and was ratified by the National Board of the NHA.