The NHA Handicappers report on the past weekend’s feature racing action.
Rising Sun Gold Challenge (Grade 1)
DO IT AGAIN’s merit rating remains unchanged on 125 after he ran down CIRILLO in the closing stages of the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge (WFA) over 1600m at Greyville on Saturday, 8 June. In fact, DO IT AGAIN, 4th placed SOQRAT and 5th placed UNDERCOVER AGENT all ran to their rating and all three can effectively be seen as being line horses. As such, no changes were made to the rating of any of the three.
Runner-up CIRILLO actually runs to 124 when rating the race this way, but the Handicappers are cognisant of the fact that he was given a very enterprising ride from the front on a day when a strong tailwind was blowing down the straight and it is our view that CIRILLO may have been a little flattered by the bare numbers. As such, he was given a rating of 121 to make him the equal for now of his fellow three-year-old SOQRAT, who has beaten CIRILLO on these same weight terms three times in the past.
Third placed RAINBOW BRIDGE did not enjoy the greatest of luck in running here and also remains unaltered on 124. In fact, aside from CIRILLO, no changes were made to the ratings of any of the eight runners in the Gold Challenge line-up.
Tibouchina Stakes (Grade 2)
OH SUSANNA has seen her rating trimmed from 118 to 116 after she made virtually all the running to narrowly win the Grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes for fillies and mares over 1400m at Greyville on Saturday. This drop in the four-year-old’s rating is more in the nature of an overall re-assessment of her form this season, where she has never equalled the rating of 118 off which she raced here.
In assessing the race, the Handicappers felt that TWICE AS SMART had not run worse in a race of this calibre than the 94 she achieved when beaten 0.80 lengths by CAMPHORATUS at level weights in the Grade 3 Flamboyant Stakes at Greyville in December 2018. In the Tibouchina, TWICE AS SMART carried six pounds less than CAMPHORATUS and beat her by 2.60 lengths, or five pounds, so the performance is very similar to that of TWICE AS SMART in the Flamboyant Stakes vis-à-vis CAMPHORATUS. However, no change was made to the rating of either of these two in the wake of the Tibouchina Stakes.
Runner-up IN THE DANCE was raised from 92 to 101, third placed SILENT CRUSADE went up from 91 to 98, and fourth placed DESERT RHYTHM was given a smaller raise and goes from 92 to 94. In other changes, ELUSIVE HEART drops from 100 to 98, ROSE IN BLOOM has been cut from 105 to 102, ANIME drops to 93 from 96, and AL DANZA comes down from 102 to 99.
Cup Trial (Handicap) (Grade 3)
KAMPALA CAMPARI’s rating was raised from 107 to 109 after his narrow win in the Cup Trial (handicap) over 1800m at Greyville on Saturday. The Handicappers opted for the conservative route when assessing this race and decided to use runner-up EYES WIDE OPEN as the line horse. The Handicappers took the view that the Cup Trial was something of a false-run race, with the first two finishers occupying the first two places for virtually the entire race and also benefitting from a strong tailwind in the straight, so it was decided to adopt the lowest possible way of rating the race.
Third placed DOUBLEMINT (who was almost certainly not suited to the way the race was run) and fourth placed MADE TO CONQUER were left unchanged on 104 and 108, respectively. There were drops, however, for ROY HAD ENOUGH (109 to 108), DARK MOON RISING (who reverts from 106 to the 105 he was before being raised one pound for finishing fifth in the Premier’s Champion Challenge at Turffontein in May) and SOCIAL ORDER (101 to 99.)
Jubilee Handicap (Grade 3)
BARAHIN has had his rating increased from 108 to 112 after he came from well-off the pace to win the Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap over 1800m at Turffontein (standside) on Sunday, 9 June. In the process, he again underlined the strength of the current three-year-old crop by beating some useful older rivals in a quite comprehensive manner.
Here, third placed CAPTAIN AND MASTER and fourth placed THE DAZZLER (who is as consistent a guide as one could ask for) were used as the line horses and accordingly they both remain unchanged on 99.
Runner-up SHENANIGANS was four pounds under sufferance in the race and accordingly goes up from 89 to 94. Four of the five pounds by which his rating has gone up is because of the sufferance, and on top of that he earned one pound for beating the line horses by around half-a-length.
In the only other changes, HERO’S HONOUR drops from 106 to 105, ARCTICA was trimmed from 100 to 98, and BANNER HILL was dropped from 96 to 93.
- Press release issued by NHA on Monday 10 June 2019