Post-race analysis is the most important task a handicapper is faced with, as it sets the scene for the future.
If you introduce ‘mistakes’ into the ratings system, you’ll poison the well.
The worst crime is rating a race too high, as ratings ripple through the system and may take ages to correct, if at all.
Rating a race too low is usually easier to correct, or self-correcting, often in short time.
With that in mind, let’s look at our two races from Saturday, and see what we can make of it.
Turffontein race 3 – MR 95 F&M 2000m
First do the groundwork for the day as a whole, to get perspective.
Sunny & warm, with a 9-13km SW cross-headwind. No rain in the last 7 days, and 42mm irrigation during that time.
Penetrometer 21 and going posted as Good. False rail 2m out on the bend, with a 2m spur at the 500m mark.
Race-times for the day, with in brackets the average for 1000m as a guide:
|R1 Maiden||1450m||89.37||(avg 61.6)|
|R2 Maiden||1600m||112.96||(avg 62.8)|
|R3 MR95f||2000m||126.47||(avg 63.3)|
|R4 MR73f||2000m||125.85||(avg 62.9)|
|R5 MR80||1200m||72.22||(avg 60.2)|
|R6 Cdnfm||1450m||87.14||(avg 60.1)|
|R7 Cdn||1450m||88.88||(avg 61.3)|
|R8 MR76f||1450m||88.35||(avg 60.9)|
|R9 MR68f||1450m||89.24||(avg 61.5)|
“Our’ Race 3 Fillies & Mares MR 95 race stands out, but not in a positive way.
It went on average slower than the MR 73 over the same distance, and slower than a mile for Maidens!
The first question a handicapper has to ask is ‘if this race was run again would the result likely be the same’.
The answer here must be ‘no!’ – the race certainly was not a true run race and running it again would not likely give the same result.
That means that whichever way the MRs are adjusted post-race, it will be wrong.
So the right thing to do here is to be conservative and leave everything as is, with no adjustment to any of the ratings.
After all, it should not be the Official Handicapper’s responsibility if jockeys decide to mess around and turn a race into a tactical affair – so his original assessment should stand.
As an aside, the two Gr2 features on the day (race 6 and race 7) shows the fillies one to have been exceptionally fast (faster on average even than the 1200m sprint race).
Given the tight finish and the much slower time of the colt’s equivalent, that possibly wasn’t a true race, so that result must be treated with caution in terms of ratings and future reliability. Sectional times for the two races might give further insight, but right now nothing is up the Tellytrack site.
Durbanville race 7 – Gr3 Matchem Stakes 1400m
Clear Skies, 15 – 32kph South Westerly Cross Wind. No rain during the last 7 days, and 24mm irrigation added. Penetrometer read 20 and the going was posted as Good. There was no false rail on the bend, and a 2m spur at the 500m mark coming into the straight.
Times for the day, with the average for 1000m as a guide:
|R1 Maiden||1250m||74.77||(avg 59.8)|
|R2 Maiden||1250m||74.7||(avg 59.8)|
|R3 Maiden||1600m||99.28||(avg 62.0)|
|R4 MR 78||1600m||97.5||(avg 60.9)|
|R5 MR 90||1600m||96.03||(avg 60.0)|
|R6 Cndfm||1400m||83.6||(avg 59.7)|
|R7 Cnd||1400m||82.27||(avg 58.8)|
|R8 Maiden||1400m||84.39||(avg 60.3)|
The Matchem Stakes was on average the fastest run race on the day, suggesting a true run race.
This wasn’t a handicap race, so we need to decide what to do with the ratings.
To make it easier to follow, we’ll take the winner at his pre-race MR and adjust the others.
- First adjust for weight difference (2 MR points per kg), then for beaten lengths (3 MR points per length), the for weight-for-age (7kg or 14 MR points for 3yo).
The sensible adjustment would be to take seasoned 7yo sprinter Search Party as the line horse at his pre-race MR 115 and go -7 on the above raceMR calculations.
That makes the final raceMR ratings (pre-race in brackets):
- One World 120 (127)
- Search Party 115 (115)
- Undercover Agent 118 (130)
- Pleasedtomeetyou 110 (112)
- African Warrior 114 (112)
- New Caledonia 109 (109)
- Sacred Arrow 107 (110)
- Ready Steady Go 103 (105)
- Fifty Cents 102 (105)
- Star Chestnut 96 (109)
- Bishop’s Bounty 95 (107)
Alternatively, Pleasedtomeetyou could be the line horse at 112, which would peg the above ratings 2 higher (and make Search Party and New Caledonia go up 2 on the pre-race MR).
What would you do?