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3yo Handicapping – Headed South?

Startling increase in ratings!

Sail South is an amazing horse. His record of 43 races shows that if he doesn’t win he certainly doesn’t let you beat him by far.

And he can carry weight – in the latest 4 of his 9 career wins he shouldered 58kg, 61.5kg, 61kg and 60.5kg.

.Gallant Sail South – wins the 2017 Champions Cup beating Captain America

The great handicapping debate was stirred up by Mike de Kock on Tuesday – did you read his moan? Click here

Tony Mincione writes that when Sail South beat Captain America, truly his racing companion, in the 2017 Gr1 Champions Cup his rating went up by 3 points.

In 6 subsequent races his rating has stayed the same due to his consistency to hardly ever be more than 3L off any company with exception in the Met.

So it was no surprise to see Sail South and Captain America each no more than 0.75L and 1.5L off the winner carrying the normal 60kg in the 2018 Gr1 Gold Challenge, as they do, running 3rd and 4th.

Hats off to Brett Crawford to have these two 7 year olds hardly ever run a poor race.  Captain America has earned a cheque in 33 of 34 races when only ever once 4.45L off in an 1800m Gr2.  We need to present them a medal.  Gold!

Captain America – seen at his last win in the 2017 Gold Challenge

The thing is though, neither of these stalwarts has won a race in about a year.  Both are propping up their ratings by sheer class. What’s at work is the utter honesty of two heroes and the trainer’s prowess to keep them happy and game.

But all of this is the preface to the Rising Sun Gr1 Gold Challenge and the startling increase in the ratings of two 3 year olds, a colt and a filly with 10 and 7 runs exposure, respectively.

The proximity of Sail South and Captain America has inspired the handicapper to take the beaten distances at face value, and adjust the rating of Undercover Agent to a record breaking 125 and the filly Snowdance to run a career best in defeat rerated 5 points higher to 119.

The finishing order of the Gr1 Gold Challenge showng old MR, new MR and lengths behind:

You have to argue that if you are at all worried about this, then the fact (yes, Fact) that on this scale Roy Had Enough, the other 3 year old in this small field, also runs a career best 117 in defeat by beating home a sprinter by a length over a mile.

How does this not ring all the warning bells?

Just because they don’t “give” the 117 to Roy Had Enough doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Possible it’s the African Night Sky rule at work – we know these rules are unsophisticated and the source of unintended consequences.

Undercover Agent – a 125!

To labour the point – if Undercover Agent is 125, then Trip To Heaven ran a 115 off his 110. It’s possible, I suppose. But his best ratings have been earned by his many victories over 1200m so I’m not rushing off to believe 115 over 1600m.

If we had sectional times we would have another tool, possibly a very sharp one, that could help make sense of something that looks weird on the face of it.  Either it’s the two in front that defines the race, or the two filling the places that define it.

It’s a smash for those young horses if the handicapper chose wrong.

Granted neither 3yo’s Undercover Agent (125) nor Snowdance (119) will be rushing off to a handicap anytime soon so there is no need to panic.  But what confidence can anyone have once you’ve seen this?

To be fair to the handicappers, they are muzzled.Or I assume they have been instructed to stay mum!

But they can’t have it every which way:  you can’t have no transparency AND no comment.  We could do with one, or the other! .

** It is possible that Roy Had Enough was dropped after the Gr1 Daily News and that the new 107 rating didn’t reflect as the Gr1 Gold Challenge was just a week later, but I couldn’t find any evidence so I don’t know.

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6 comments on “3yo Handicapping – Headed South?

  1. jim says:

    This is retarded. Brain dead. Oh susanna wins the met. Wfa 3 yo filly. 121. Beats the best horses in the country. She is therefore the best in the land. Undercover agent is now 125. On what planet can he be 4 points better than the filly. Wake up.

  2. Hylton says:

    These handicappers really are clueless and not objective in their thinking pattern. They really have no idea of how to objectively piece together the collateral form of runners in a race. I think I would even do a better job than these do called experts.
    The line horse should have been Snowdance.She is consistent.
    African Night Sky beat Captain in the Met and 2 lengths behind Oh Susanna and is rated what?
    If Undercover Agent is a 125 that makes the third best horse in the world
    WINKS 19 or 20 wins on the trot rated 130
    GUN RUNNER 2nd 129

    DAMN, what idiots.
    Even if they wanted to raise Undercover Agent they did not take WFA into account. HE is still a a 3year old. Mac they should have taken him was to 117(3kg). Also horses should at least get 1 more run to confirm before being heavily penalised.
    Captain America, Legal Eagle and Sail South have been way below their peak ratings over the past year, but have being doing well because the horses they have being running with are operated to their rating.
    Pocket Power peak rating was 123 won the july,
    3 x JB Met
    4 x Queens Plate
    Pocket Power best horses that did well on the international stage.

    This is my interpretation of wheat the ratings should be and I challenge anyone out there to disagree with me.
    Line horse Snowdance 114 remains 114
    Undercover Agent raised 4 for .5 length win 115
    Sail South dropped 6 points WFA 117
    Captain America Dropped 6 points WFA 117
    Gold standard never confirm his rating in
    In years adjusted to WFA 114
    African Night Sky for betingCaptain in Met +
    Confirming his easy victory in feature 117

    Now that make sense and is more realistic on international scale
    Yes they are clueless and hard off to De Kock

  3. Pmb says:

    Sometimes the Line horse is the winner and placed horses ran below ratings.The last 3 Mets have bugged me exactly because of the sudden and unexpected jump in ratings of horses , nearly all of whom have failed to run to those ratings again, and have given rise to some of the issues being discussed this week.

  4. karel says:

    It begs the question, will Roy Had Enough make the final field for the July (with his hidden 117 rating)?

  5. John Bryant says:

    What about Fiorella. She beat Snowdance (119) a head at level weights. She went down 0.5L to Oh Susanna (121) at level weights. That makes Fiorella a MR120 !!!! Therefore she must get a run off a “hidden 120” – and she will only carry 52kg in the July !!!!!

    1. karel says:

      Your reasoning is too simple.
      The third/fourth placed horses (close up) tell a different story: Lady In Black & Miyabi Gold (who?) and Elusive Heart & Roy’s Riviera – that gives perspective.

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