After a lengthy discussion between the NHA Handicappers, Hawwaam has had his merit rating increased from 112 to 121 following his runaway success in the Gr1 SA Classic at Turffontein on Saturday 2 March 2019.
The Handicappers were in full agreement that runner-up Barahin is the correct line horse to use in assessing the SA Classic as it was felt that there is no likelihood that he would have run below what he achieved when finishing third in the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas at his previous start.
Hawwaam was simply in a different division to the Classic field in his first attempt at 1800m and the Handicappers are more than satisfied that he is well worth his new 121 rating.
Third placed National Park remains on 117 following his success in the Gauteng Guineas, while fourth placed Zillzaal also stays unchanged on the 106 he was given after the Gauteng Guineas. Several of the unplaced horses were given a rating drop.
Owlinthetree goes to 99 from 102, Alyaasaat goes to 105 from 108, and Roll Of Drum drops from 84 to 82.
The Gr1 SA Fillies Classic required considerably more discussion, but it was agreed that the winner Return Flight’s rating will be increased from 102 to 105. It was decided that given the fact that Return Flight was allowed to dictate her own pace in a slow-run race – the time for the 1800m was almost 3 seconds slower than that of the Classic won by Hawwaam. It would be imprudent to over-react by rating the Fillies Classic too highly.
The Fillies Classic was rated using sixth placed Running Brave to her published mark of 99 as it was felt that she had not equalled the 102 she actually achieved when finishing second behind Nafaayes in the Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas. By rating the race this way, Nafaayes runs to the mark of 103 she achieved in winning the Fillies Guineas.
For the time being, Nafaayes rating has been dropped from 109 to 107, and it is believed that by having Naayes still rated higher than Return Flight it has been taken into account that Return Flight may be a little flattered by having so clearly enjoyed the run of the race in the Fillies Classic.
Third placed Blossom has had her rating increased from 88 to 103, while fourth finisher Storm Destiny goes from 95 to 102. Fifth placed Perfect Tigress was given a partial upwards adjustment from 90 to 95. There were no other ratings changes in the Fillies Classic.
Zouaves has seen his rating increased from 104 to 109 following his win the Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes. Zouves actually achieved a rating of 109 when he won a pinnacle stakes over the same course-and-distance on 6 January this year, but he could only be raised to 104 as the winner of a plated non-feature race cannot be adjusted upwards by more than six points.
However, it is extremely unlikely that in winning a Gr2 race less than two months later Zouaves would have run to a level below what he achieved there. It was noted that runner-up Cascapedia was hanging in badly and accordingly it would over-inflate the race if she were to be the line horse. No changes were made to the ratings of any of the placed horses.
High Seas Beauty’s rating has been adjusted from 83 to 88 after her win in the Gr3 Acacia Handicap. It was felt that third placed Cashel Palace was the appropriate line horse and as such runner-up Anneka received a small raise from 88 to 87. Fourth placed Tamarina remains unchanged.
- Press release issued by NHA on 4 March 2019