One of South Africa’s major racing weekends of the year is behind us.
This is how the NHRA Handicappers saw the performances and adjusted the various mert ratings.
- Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate
VARDY has had his rating increased from 128 to 134 after his emphatic defeat of a top class field on WFA terms in the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth (summer course) on Saturday 11 January.
While the Handicappers are cognizant of the fact that multiple delays at the start of the race may have had a negative impact on some horses’ performance, it nevertheless remains a fact that VARDY led home the same “trifecta” as when he won the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes four weeks earlier and there is no reason to question the level of his performance here.
In assessing the race, the Handicappers decided that the best line horse to use would be ultra-consistent fourth placed TWIST OF FATE, who was used to his previous career best rating of 129 (achieved as it happens on the last occasion that he raced over 1600m) to rate the Queen’s Plate. As such, his rating goes up from 127 to 129.
Runner-up ONE WORLD was raised from 127 to130 after he finished 2nd behind VARDY for the third time in consecutive meetings with the winner, while 3rd placed RAINBOW BRIDGE remains unchanged on 134 (equal to the winner.)
The only horse to be given a drop was Undercover Agent, who goes from 127 to 124.
- Gr1 Cartier Paddock Stakes
QUEEN SUPREME has seen her rating upped from 117 to 122 after she ran out a very comfortable winner of the Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes (WFA) for fillies and mares over 1800m at Kenilworth on Saturday. Fourth placed MIYABI GOLD was considered to be the most suitable line horse and accordingly remains unchanged on 115.
Runner-up DRIVING MISS DAISY was raised from 110 to 115, but in contrast 3rd placed SILVANO’S PRIDE was given a small drop from 119 to 117.
There was a similar reduction for 5th placed FRONT AND CENTRE, who goes from 122 to 120 and is accordingly rated lower than the winner. In the only other change, SANTA CLARA was dropped from 120 to 117.
- Gr2 Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap
BELGARION has had his rating increased from 109 to 113 after he quickened well and comfortably won the Grade 2 Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap over the Kenilworth 1800m on Saturday.
This clearly progressive sort is now undefeated from three starts since he was gelded in April of last year and he also has a perfect 3-for-3 record in handicap races.
Third placed MAJESTIC MOZART was used as the line horse here, and as such his rating remains unchanged, while runner-up HERODOTUS goes up from 109 to 110.
However, this increase is solely due to the fact that he carried half-a-kilo overweight, if not for which he would also be running to his rating.
Three horses were given ratings drops. RUN RED goes from 104 to 102, EYES WIDE OPEN was dropped from 119 to 118, and PRICELESS RULER is down to 105 from 107.
- Gr3 Heineken Chairman’s Cup
DOUBLEMINT has seen his rating go up from 116 to 118 after he landed the Grade 3 Chairman’s Stakes over 2500m at Kenilworth on Saturday. Third placed ATYAAB was considered to make for the correct line horse here and therefore his rating remains unchanged.
In terms of the specific conditions of the race, no horse other than the winner can be given a rating’s increase and therefore runner-up CROME YELLOW remains on 98 despite running to 106, while fourth placed STRATHDON (who runs to a level of 110) has to remain unaltered on 109.
Fifth placed SWIFT SURPRISE achieved a rating of 100, but remains unchanged on 91.
Three horses had their ratings dropped. TAP O’ NOTH is down from 116 to 115, PRINCESS IRENE drops from 105 to 104, and GIMME ONE NIGHT (who won this race a year ago, when it was however contested over 3200m) is down from 103 to 102.
- Gr2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes
CELTIC SEA has had her rating increased slightly from 125 to 126 after she romped to an impressive win in the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes for fillies and mares over 1200m at Kenilworth on Friday.
This increase ensures that she is rated marginally above runner-up CLOUDS UNFOLD, who remains unchanged on 125.
It was felt that it would be premature to drop CLOUDS UNFOLD, who was having her second start after returning from an injury-enforced lay-off and who put up a much more encouraging performance than in her first run back.
Fourth placed THIRD RUNWAY was used as the line horse here, which means of course that her rating remains unchanged, but third placed GOLDEN CHANCE goes up from 105 to 108.
Five horses were given a rating’s drop. FREEDOM CHARTER is down from 114 to 113, MISS FLORIDA goes from 110 to 107, TEMPLE GRAFIN is down to 115 from 117, CANUKEEPITSECRET was trimmed from 109 to 108, and COUSIN LIZ is down from 99 to 97.
- Listed Ardmore Jamaica Handicap
PRINCIPESSA has had her rating raised from 87 to 95 after she got up in the shadow of the post to win the Listed Ardmore Jamaica Handicap for fillies and mares over 2000m at Kenilworth on Friday.
It must be borne in mind that PRINCIPESSA was one pound (or half a kg) under sufferance at the weights and this pound was also added on to the adjustment which she received.
Fourth placed HEAVEN’S EMBRACE was used as the line horse, which leaves her rating unchanged. Runner-up SLEEPING SINGLE goes up from 94 to 100, while third placed KELPIE was raised from 105 to 110.
Only two horses were given a rating’s drop. STELVIO was trimmed from 92 to 91, while MADONNA goes from 97 to 95.
- Listed Swallow Stakes
SARAH remains unchanged on a rating of 119 after she easily won the Listed Swallow Stakes for three-year-old fillies over the Turffontein 1160m straight course on Saturday.
In fact, by using the winner (who was very well treated by the weight conditions of the race and who was therefore entitled to win it with such ease) as the line horse runner-up GIN FIZZ also runs to her rating (108) and as such she effectively becomes a line horse as well.
Third placed RISK TAKER goes up from 92 to 102, and fourth finisher TRUE CHARM was raised from 98 to 105. THE FIFTH WAVE was raised from 88 to 93, while in the only drop TALLINN is down from 99 to 97.