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Soqrat vs Hawwaam – Handicapper Explains

Champions Challenge will be interesting

Soqrat – class act faces Hawwaam on Saturday (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The respective merit ratings of Mike de Kock’s two stablemates Soqrat (133) and Hawwaam (131), who run in Saturday’s World Sports Betting Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein, were question recently by a Sporting Post reader.

Donald Bradshaw asked for an explanation as to why Soqrat is rated what he is and Hawwaam, below him.

NHRA Chief Handicapper Lennon Maharaj kindly explained.

He says that Hawwaam attained his current rating in the Classic last April and has not been adjusted since.

His subsequent form has been consistent with this rating level which places him 3-4 pts below Do It Again, Vardy and Rainbow Bridge.

Unlike Soqrat, he has not conceded weight to his field in a Grade 1 race and neither has he run the current top-rated Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge close in a Grade 1 races where both have produced their best, as has Soqrat.

Soqrat attained a rating of 134 (124 before the blanket 10 Points population increase) after his second to Do It Again in the 2019 Queen’s Plate, which was then reduced to 131 after he failed to reproduce that rating in the 2019 Durban Winter season.

We then raised him to 133 after his win in the Victory Moon Stakes Gr3 when carrying 62kgs and beating Green Haze 51kg (currently rated 116) by 2.25 lengths at the Vaal in November, a rating he confirmed when running second in the Summer Cup carrying top weight.

These two efforts, both conceding weight to his field, confirmed that at his best he was still capable of the 131+ effort he had achieved in the 2019 Queens Plate.

His last two runs have, however, been below his normal form and after careful consideration we felt it prudent to allow Soqrat one more opportunity to prove his rating.

Saturday’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein provides us with the opportunity to reassess his current ability.

1st R255000, 2nd R106250, 3rd R42500, 4th R21250
Conditions Race
WFA: 2yrs-11.5kgs 3yrs-2kgs
No Apprentice Allowance
1 2 Soqrat (AUS) 60 133 A L Hewitson Mike de Kock
2 3 Hawwaam 60 131 AM C Murray Mike de Kock
3 8 Tierra Del Fuego 60 124 A G Lerena Sean Tarry
4 9 Chijmes 60 120 A D Schwarz Gary Alexander
5 7 Hero’s Honour 60 117 A C Maujean Gary Alexander
6 1 Tilbury Fort 60 112 T A *L J Ferraris Sean Tarry
7 4 Kurt’s Approval 60 65 TBA S Brown Chris Erasmus
8 5 Western Fort 58 108 CA S Khumalo Paul Peter
9 6 Jet Start 57.5 110 A C Habib Paul Peter
Same Trainer – Not Coupled on Tote
(1,2) (3,6) (4,5) (8,9)

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8 comments on “Soqrat vs Hawwaam – Handicapper Explains

  1. Tony Mincione says:

    This is a quirk, or a glitch, or an error in Merit Ratings. And there are others. Many more people believe that Hawwaam is better than Socrat. If there was a vote, or an auction, we expect Hawwaam to win either.

    But by planning or accident Soqrat won races while giving tons of weight and racking up the points when the handicapper took the races literally (or arithmetically). Hawwaam avoided races where he had to concede weight or didnt win in CT or (the July) when he met the real big MR’s.

    And the truth of it is that there is no one around who thinks that its ok to have to concede weight to Hawwaam who looks like he can win anything if when he’s in the mood.

    Thanks to the unappreciated silver lining we all have from exports that fail, we may get to see both Hawwaam and Soqrat in the mood on Saturday. Count your blessings!

  2. Jay August says:

    There is no “truth” in handicapping, only divergent opinion. There is no “truth” in public opinion, only weight of opinion.

    The same quirks or glitches Tony sees in handicapping are also found in the proxy for public opinion, the prices offered by bookmakers and taken by punters.

    Perhaps Tony is suggesting that handicapping becomes an arithmetic summation of the votes by a sampling of public opinion.

  3. donald bradshaw says:

    Jay , but surely there is truth in what the handicapper states himself as being ” his last two runs being below his NORMAL form ” !

    If that statement is true , which it is , then surely the horse must be handicapped accordingly and not in terms of ” to allow him one more opportunity ” ?

  4. Jay August says:

    Donald, you play semantics with me but let me answer you with a question. Should Do It Again be dropped to ~124 given his last three below par runs? Should Vardy also be dropped having failed to meet his rating in his last two starts? Should Rainbow Bridge now be rated at ~10 points higher than both those horses given his more consistent recent form?

    For the avoidance of doubt; if the Durban July was run today and the handicap was based on the best rating for each horse in their last 2 starts (which it appears is the principle you seek to employ in the case of Soqrat), then the handicap would look something like this:

    Rainbow Bridge – 134
    Vardy – 126
    Do It Again – 124
    Hawwaam – 130
    Soqrat – 120

    Would that make for a fair handicap in your opinion?

  5. Don Ismay says:

    Ed , How did a MR 65 made the final final ? Is it a misprint?

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Don
      No – it’s correct
      You pays your money you takes your chances!
      Dont leave him out of the quartet

  6. Mike says:

    Simple nominate and u in

    1. Editor says:

      Mike, please add your surname in

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