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Here’s A Challenge!

Are you game or chicken?

Karel invites Graham Hurlstone-Jones, Michael Jackson & others to the uncertain MR-world.

This is an invitation to everyone who want to gain insight into the wonderful world of handicapping and Merit Ratings.

Anyone can take part.

All you need to do is pick a race from the cards this Saturday where all runners have ratings.

You post on this thread, saying which race, and give a summary of what your view is on the ratings (and why!).

We’ll do the same for your chosen race. Then we compare notes.

After the races have been run we analyse what happened.

Let’s make one thing clear: there are no rights and no wrongs – just opinions.

Handicapping – the Brain Game

Then we’ll decide together how to rate the race, and what adjustments should be made.

It will be good fun.And it will tell us more about MR’s.

Are you game or chicken?

Have Your Say

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24 comments on “Here’s A Challenge!


    Now, that’s a proper invite with an agenda, as well.


    The chicken photo is top class 😂😂😂

  3. Michael Jackson says:

    I don’t mind taking up the challenge, but I’m anti-MR so I don’t see the point of me posting my selections. Rather, I challenge Karel and Jay August to post their top 4 in each handicap Race on the Saturday meetings in SA for the month of October! Post it on a Friday afternoon and we see how good these proponents of MR are. They are usually very good post race with all the analysis, so let’s see how goid they are pre-race!

    1. karel says:

      Chicken it is then.

      By the way, you did not read properly.
      It’s not about making selections.
      It’s about handicapping and how things work.
      One race at a time.
      To help to understand.

  4. Leo Murfin says:

    Brilliant idea/challenge Michael !!!

  5. hilton witz says:

    Michael you do realise that you are also a handicaper as every time you have a bet what you saying is that the horse you backing in your opinion is the best handicaped horse in the race..If you do your own ratings and you clearly think that the handicapers ratings are useless then you should be seeing plenty of betting oppurtunities when matching up your ratings with the official handicapers ratings whether you having a bet in a handicap or a plate race ..I find the official ratings to be correct 90 percent of the time and when you untie their hands with the ridiculous restrictions imposed on them then that 90 percent increases to 95 percent ..I

  6. karel says:

    Fields will be on the Sporting Post website on Wednesday.
    If you’d like to take part in this fun-thing, I’ll be happy to send you the SP cards – that will make it easier to follow for everyone.
    Post your intention here and the two meeting’s cards will go to the email address you registered with – so let’s hope that was legit!
    Just say: I’m game, send me the cards.

  7. Steve Reid says:

    Oi vey – now we challenging each other to tipping competitions. Surely to goodness what the actual challenge is, is the identification of how the MR workings lead to an individual horses rating, thereby giving more understanding to the ignorant?

    Give me strength.

  8. Roy says:

    Good morning. I would like to to participate.


    Roy, I’m in.

    Improving one’s skills set is all part of personal growth

  10. Michael Jackson says:

    I will have a go.

  11. Zietsman says:

    I’m game, send me the cards

  12. Steve Reid says:

    Clearly SP are not fans of Michael Jackson music.

    I stand dazed and confused and thoroughly chastised.

  13. shane says:

    yes siree, im eager to learn

  14. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Love it !……A great idea, it will be fascinating and great way to learn more crap to add to the confusion…..I am an open book but I do find the MR and handicapping beyond confusing. I do have a question about race 4 Durbanville MR 76 ( it looks like a stepping stone for a couple )….The MR for Flame Tree and Templeton, why the 10 point difference ?. ( actually the whole race confuses me ) A Dynasty winning its first race over 1200 is like getting ice cream before dinner ! ( look at Kelpie )….Templeton to win after the long rest purely on the breeding and the fact that Brett will have a big day any way with Dean, Justin and Vaughn…..unless Kelpie is a better Dynasty…( beat Halliberry dammit ). Flame Tree could easily be a Champ but I prefer the Dynasty’s ( on experience ). I chose this race as there might be champ in it….lets see ? …..( my phone has not stopped ringing, it seems you have started something )……the more people join in the better….no custard pies allowed ok.

  15. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    oops, its a 78 handicap, great start ! ( I wonder what difference it would make anyway )….Please send the any info with thanks….

  16. Richard Smit says:

    Do we post here.


    Turfontein Race 4 – No 6 Perfect Light CMR 68 – Nice weight for that rating

    1. karel says:

      Did you mean Perfect Light (MR much the same as others) or did you perhaps mean Twice As Special (MR much higher than anything else)?
      (This is a loaded question)

  17. Richard Smit says:

    It doesn’t matter anymore – because Perfect Light has been scratched

    I saw “Twice as Special” CMR at 82 – but I think this is a bit high, for the recent maiden win.
    There are quite a few stronger (more experienced) competitors to overcome.

    I see that Jockey C F Dicken is claiming 4 kg on Twice as Special. That’s a huge advantage, in my experience! The only thing (maybe) to overcome, is the rise in class.

    How about jockey in-experience. This is NOT factored in, in the MR.

    Actually there are a whole lot of things NOT included in the MR, that play significant roles in the eventual result of “THIS” specific race, which may or could be quite different to each horses prior races, COMPARED to each other (horses).

    1. karel says:

      You need to take weight for age into account.
      Over 2000m it is 9kg, or 18 MR points.
      So the MR 82 in effect is 82-18 = 64.

  18. Richard Smit says:

    That’s interesting – where does one get the detailed weight for age scale chart from.
    And how does one know it is correct?

    I don’t work things out this way. I try to convert everything to lengths

    In other words, and for example:

    1 MR = ? lengths – personal experience / analysis, gives the answer

    1 KG = ? lengths – same comment, as above.

    1 DRAW = ? lengths – same comment, as above.

    1 CLASS = ? lengths – same comment, as above.

    Neither do I calculate ” The CLASS of the horse” using MR
    But I do use the horses AR in historical lengths, comparing horse for horse in each race.
    The horse with the best lengths tied to the highest AR in prior races, is the CLASS horse in the race, NOT the horse with the highest MR.

    A bit different perhaps, to the norm calculation, but it works for me. The CLASS horse calculated this way, doesn’t always win either!!! But neither does the horse with the highest MR.

    And this is what is so difficult, when it comes to handicapping. Nothing works all the time – some of the time, perhaps, but not every time.

    MR in my opinion is only one factor, to take into account. Weight for age is another.
    But they are not, the be all and end all, as experience teaches!

    1. karel says:

      Have a look here: https://www.sportingpost.co.za/racings-secrets-revealed/
      read “A Matter of Merit” (1) and (2)

  19. Richard Smit says:

    I see that the horse with the highest MR of 82 ( 14 / 1) came no where – NOT even a place.
    The weight for age, in a sense and in this instance, played no role.

    For this race No 4, ONLY, at Turfontein, MR, by itself, was a non starter.

    A horse with a MR of 72 ( 10 points less ) ( 4/1 ) won.

    What does this mean!! –
    Perhaps – W Kennedy is a very good Jockey or the Trainer, P A Peter is in HOT form or
    Green Dragon, the winning horse, was a greatly improving horse in its past performances.

    If one truly wants to improve ones selections, and truly wants to assist their members gain helpful knowledge, one has to maintain an open mind.This might just mean throwing out, some of what one, already knows. Especially the stuff that doesn’t work. Straight down the line – I’m not fooling around!

    I have always appreciated what Sporting Post does, for many years, BUT, please don’t ask your subscribers, I’m one of them, to comment, and then remove there comment, which they’ve spent some time, and, thought preparing, without giving a reason.

    So let me repeat , CmWd, are most probably, the four major factors that need to be carefully considered, weighted, and balanced, TOGETHER, when handicapping a horse race.
    (Details given in the comment removed.)

    I’m reasonably ( and perhaps nearly ) quite sure that Trainers are FULLY aware of these, and other factors, when placing their horses in, especially, handicapped races…….

    Most punters, however, are NOT even aware of this.

    That’s why most have losing “WIN” bets.

    I was one of them, but not any more. And there is a very real REASON for this.
    Next time.

  20. Richard Smit says:

    OK , Apologies, I see you have now posted my previous comment.
    Thanks for the additional info.

    Sorry !!!

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