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Charlie Goes To 102

Sophomore Sprint assessed by handicappers

THREE TWO CHARLIE has had his merit rating upped from 94 to 102 following his very comfortable win in the Listed Sophomore Sprint for three-year-olds over 1200m at Kenilworth on Saturday, 7 September.

Three Two Charlie (Greg Cheyne) is led in after his smart win (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

This rating is a very good fit as, in assessing the race this way, 3rd placed KING OF GEMS, 4th placed CONSTABLE and 5th placed DJOCKOVIC all run to their marks and are therefore effectively all line horses.

Accordingly, none of their ratings have changed, however, runner-up CAPTAIN TATTERS is raised from 96 to 99.

Only two drops were made to unplaced horses, with WARRIOR TIGER being cut from 90 to 87 and GROUND CONTROL dropping from 93 to 90.

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20 comments on “Charlie Goes To 102

  1. Basil says:

    We have definitely lost the plot and our marbles.
    A Listed winner should have a MR somewhere in the 90’s
    MR’s above 100 should be GR1/2 or better Gr3 winners who have run well in GR1/2 races.


    Basil, you so right, it’s just become a total farce from from 0 to 135.

    Maybe Vee Moodley can get Mr. Malema’s international ranking up high enough for him to be appointed Chairman of the International Monetary Fund.

    Come on Vee and Lennon, after 32Charlies next win, push him up to a 126, I know you can do it.

    1. karel says:

      What’s the fuss?
      Ratings are relative, measured against an average; there’s nothing absolute about them.
      Apply a different average and the ratings change, up or down.
      But in effect it’s all the same.
      Today’s 102 is yesterday’s 92.


    But Karel, yesterday’s 92 is achieved by 10 notches of less effort/ability/accomplishment/prowess today.

    It doesn’t matter if all competing against each other are raised 10 points, they all have been given a “fake new pair of roller skates”.

    They are still 82’s masquerading as 92’s with no pure/real increase in racing ability.


    This all for the sake of moving/relieving the congestion (cardinal sin as per Vee Moodley) of the 55’s to 72’s up a range or bracket.

    Now the congestion is still there, just in a higher band of ratings.

    I don’t know more, really.

    Karel, has your Sporting Post adjusted all your ability ratings up 10 points, carte blanche ?

    1. karel says:

      Sporting Post ratings are in pounds, and on the same level as those of Raceform/Racing Post in UK and slightly lower than Timeform (UK).
      There is no relationship between the level of SP ratings and the NHA’s local half-kilo ‘official’ MR, other than that they use the same methodology.
      Once again: everything is relative!


    Yes, I know there is no relationship between NHA and yours, but do you recognize or accept the 10 point hike, across the board ?

    1. karel says:

      it matters not – all is relative!
      Not like accounting then ….

  6. Basil says:

    Once again the age factor is very relevant. Some black type races are based on handicap bases where new 3yr olds are hammered and multi winning older horses with no great current form have an advantage. My point is that these new 3yr olds are over handicapped too early.
    If these 3yr olds are not of black type (who knows how they develop) quality horses will have to run no where for a while to reduce their MR ratings.
    Once again it’s the middle class horse , who make up the majority of horses , that will suffer.

  7. Jay August says:

    I’m finding it difficult squaring both Basil and William’s absolute opinion on ratings with the reality of handicapping both locally, internationally and for purposes of the Longines ratings. Basil asserts that a listed winner should be somewhere in the ’90s although I am unsure how he arrives at that number.

    The World’s Best Racehorse committee (WBR) requires the top four horses to run to an average of 100 in an open listed race for that race to meet the required standard. The average used by the WBR though is the top four’s best rating in any race for the season, so while an average race rating of 95 may be feasible for a Listed race, the horses involved would have to run 5 points higher elsewhere in a pattern race in the year to enable the race to qualify as Listed.

    Basil’s comment of “in the 90’s “ may have general applicability to Listed races but cannot be used to determine the merit of the winner of this race – some horses will simply perform better than the average for such races. In this case, the horse Three Two Charlie has run to a current 102, which before the hike this would have been a 97. In either case, his relative rating to all other horses remains the same and that is the chief concern of the local handicappers.

    Their remit is to create an equal opportunity (fair contest) for all horses should they meet in a handicap in a future race considering their currently assessed ability. Their remit is not to maintain a rating database which is comparable to the rest of the world and which ranks horses according to their best-achieved ability. The exercise to rate the best SA horses relative to their international peers for the WBR is separate and is not directly comparable to the rating of all horses in SA for purposes of creating a fair contest in handicap races.

    It should be clear that merit ratings are continuously changed to allow horses to compete evenly in handicaps and not to cater to the commercial requirements of a rating agency like Timeform or Racing Post. There is a great difference between what Sporting Post (or for that matter Racing Post) shows as a “master” rating (best rating achieved over a career or each year) and what the official handicappers show as a current merit rating. Were one to align the best-achieved race merit rating for each horse to the similar Sporting Post rating, after adjusting for any metric differences, you would probably find very little difference across individual crops and annual ratings for the entire population of horses.

    I’ll concede though that the difference between merit ratings and the WBR ratings should not be as large as they are at present after the 10 point hike. Having recently rid the local merit ratings of the handicapping guidelines, the aim for the local handicappers should now be to ensure that there is no future slippage in average ratings, that ratings become comparable and viable from one year to another without further adjustment, and race programming restraints are not solved by adjusting merit ratings. If this is achieved then there is no reason why the entire MR system cannot be adjusted back down to the generally accepted international norm and that the local merit ratings, therefore, become more comparable with the ratings in Dubai, Hong Kong and other countries which use half-kilos.

    If absolute rating comparisons are the standard by which all handicappers should be rated then how does one account for Timeform awarding Frankel a 147, Racing Post awarding a 143 and the WBR and BHA a 140? Is the 147 rating of Timeform nonsense? And is the 136 awarded to Cracksman last year by Timeform also nonsense compared to the 130 he got from the WBR and the BHA? Is one more correct than another and if so which one and why?

    As for the last comment of Basil on 3yo’s please refer to my previous post on WFA and 3yo’s versus older horses. This past August has proven no different to all other months – the 3yo’s which ran in open handicaps won 30% more such races than they should have if all horses (read older horses) had an even chance.

  8. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    For me its all about the starting point – if thats wrong then the arithmetic can get skewed.

    It does not matter when comparing the sophomores against each other – they all had similar starting points.

    Lets look at Silver Operator as he tried to cross the WFA divide. He bumped Belgarion – considering Belgarion’s win prior to this was off MR77 and on Saturday he won off 97, admittedly after a bump of 10 points. Now silver operator was only bumped 5 points ( why 5 and not 10?) so in theory was well in by 5 points. The result showed he was not well in at all , and perhaps his starting point was wrong – as i have said before i have not seen high starting points like this in my time.

    Now imagine what Vaughan Marshall must be thinking when he finds that Silver Operator has incurred another 5 point penalty for his second.

    As for Charlie i hope he ends up a 132…..hahahahaha

  9. Basil says:

    My concerns are for the owners of precocious horses who win early in their careers. That’s why age is so relative as early 3yr olds are adversely handicapped. We had a filly who got a 91 rating after 2 wins but yet a late developer like Futura had a 75 MR after 2 wins. That same filly had no black type ability. I rest my case.

  10. Jay August says:

    Basil, how do two horses observed in isolation prove anything for the other 3000 horses in the same crop? It’s likely that in an average year 1500 horses will mature faster than normal and 1500 will mature slower than normal. The WFA scale will benefit the former in the beginning and hinder them in the end and the opposite will apply to the latter 1500. Your two examples prove nothing other than that given a small enough sample one can prove anything. Alternatively you were just unlucky to own the 91 precocious filly and not the slower developing Futura,

  11. Basil says:

    We are talking about horses entering their 3yr old careers and not where they will be later.
    That is why precocious horses are affected detrimentally. The reasons being that developing horses are more likely to achieve classic status due to longer distances being competed for.
    Why then do we penalise precocious horses who have little chance of classic success.
    I’m positive that I was not the only unlucky owner of a precocious horse which does little to promote new owners who normally want a fairly quick return on their investments.

  12. Jay August says:

    Basil, you could not have been the only unlucky owner and you miss my point. Approximately half of all owners would probably have been so afflicted.

    As for “penalising precocious horses who have little chance of winning a classic” – who is that prescient that they know that this is the case in advance? In retrospect everyone is an expert.

    You appear to define precocious as being a horse which has limited stamina while I define precocious as a horse which is more forward than the average horse of similar age. I think also the dictionary definition backs up my interpretation.

    Many precocious horses in the past won at 800m in November and at 2400m 18 months later. Precocity was no hindrance to stamina in the past yet today it appears like Everest, almost impossible to surmount.

    What exactly are you suggesting happens to horses that win early; that they are catered for outside the handicap races, or that their ratings are pegged at some arbitrary level – say 65 until 1 August of their 3rd year?

  13. wesnaude1999 says:

    Could all these problems be caused by the conditions of the races and the way they are scheduled?
    Using benchmarks of say MR86 as an example can leave some horses under sufferance or carrying weights that are in excess of 60kg, depending on who enters the race. Why not have real divisions of horses racing against each other. The numbers I’m using may be arbitrary but here’s an glimpse into my thinking.

    Class Merit Rating Range
    A – MR(100+)
    B – MR(100-84)
    C – MR(84-68)
    D – MR(68-52)
    E – MR(52-36)
    F – MR(36-0)** IMO winners rated below 36 should not be racing but that’s just my opinion

    **This only applies to MR handicap races. Based on horses ratings before 10 points increase.
    **Exceptions may be granted for younger horses. For example a 2/3 year old rated 84 will receive a
    WFA allowance which would make them more competitive in a C class race.
    **The idea is to have top-weight carry 60kg and bottom weight carry 52kg. Horses can carry less
    than 52kg if trainer decides to use an apprentice.

    Structuring the races this way gives the operator an idea of how many races to program for specific horses and provides a way for horses of similar rating to run against each other and offers owners and trainers a perspective as to where their horses stand in terms of class.

    I’m of the opinion that you can’t expect horses to be rated correctly if races aren’t structured correctly and there is no consistency in the schedule. I believe that this way of structuring will allow horses to find the right class to race against and provide competitive racing. I’m also of the opinion that horses are either given equal chances or raced to see who’s the best. I’m not a fan of condition races that are not pure WFA or level weights.

    Just my thoughts.

  14. Basil says:

    I’m referring to horses bred on sprinting lines who are more likely to be precocious than horses bred on stouter lines. It however does not mean that the stouter horse can’t be precocious . It’s the sprinting line horses that are adversely affected.

  15. Jay August says:

    Wes, your ideas were unfortunately drowned out by some really crazy letters and comments a few days ago which diverted my gaze elsewhere You clearly have some passion about the subject.

    While we flay away in SA talking about the merit of the merit system and hanker for the race figure system, the rest of the world is talking about stride length, sectional upgrades to ratings, a more accurate pound per length scale and the merits of the current WFA scale.

    This game in SA has a problem with its demographic. I am for my sins part of what I perceive as the problem demographic. This demographic has a strong yearning for the past and they are unable to engage the future.

    If you are younger and perhaps you are I suggest you keep pushing your ideas. At some point the tide will turn and younger brains will work on the issue again at which point hopefully you will get a hearing. Don’t give up.

    PS – Push me an email privately if you want to discuss your comment above.

  16. wesnaude1999 says:

    Sorry I haven’t got back to you Jay. May I please have your email address. I have lots of ideas for the Horse Racing Industry.

  17. Jay August says:

    Wes, I’ve asked the Ed to send you my email.

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