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Bohica To A 109

Rebel's Champ was best line horse

Michael Azzie

Michael Azzie

The Azzies’ Bohica has had his rating raised from 105 to 109 after he overcame a wide draw and being carried wide on the turn to win the Listed Spring Spree Stakes (handicap) over 1200m on the Turffontein inside track on Saturday.

The Handicappers felt that 3rd placed Rebel’s Champ was the best line horse to use and accordingly his rating remains unchanged on 118.

On the other hand, 2nd placed Alramz (who carried half-a-kilo overweight) goes up from 99 to 101.

There were no other increases, but three horses were given a ratings’ drop.

Angel’s Power is down from 104 to 103, Urban Rock is down from 94 to 92, and lastly Oravar drops to 102 from 104.

  • Media release by NHRA on Monday 7 September 2020

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60 comments on “Bohica To A 109

  1. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…if Rebels Champ wins another race off that rating,,I’ll turn the game up for 1 week…

  2. Kenny Masilela says:

    I agree with them on Bohica but why punish Alramz who was coming from a long rest? they might as well get a robot to do the ratings.

  3. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey….pls give me the strength to last until MOD officially take over…Sunday’s racing is done and dusted at Scottsville,,it’s now Monday where we see racing taking place at Greyville…so we all on the same page at this stage…What on earth are Tellytrack doing by playing the recording selections of Warren Lenferna’s PA for Scottsville,,and why are TT still displaying incorrect fixed odds betting it happened again on Saturday ? not once but 4 or 5 times on Saturday they showed incorrect betting,, do they not realize that the betting is shown to millions across the globe…Come on Dean Swarajith this is not acceptable

  4. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Mr Handicapper pls can you explain in Race 6 at Greyville No 12 Regent Seven’s 4 point drop and why no drop for No 13 Stand By Me…Regent Seven’s last win was 302 days ago,, and now this is where I’m battling to figure out why they haven’t dropped Stand By Me I mean it’s only been 635 since his last win 😂😂😂Handicappers I love you

  5. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Big improvement by TT in respect of their Gold Cup day production , presentation and coverage but I am afraid to say that was that and now it is back to poor management and production of the horse racing product as Frankie points out !

    A comment was made a few weeks ago that someone had left numerous messages for Dean which a TT representative confirmed were passed onto Dean with no response received. That post ended with the quip ” maybe there is no Dean at TT ” which I found amusing at the time but now think there may be some truth in that observation ?

  6. Asgar Essack says:

    Jay August firstly I do appreciate your vast knowledge of horse racing and the archives of information that you have..
    It seems from your comments that you are one of the architects of this almost defunct Merit Rating system.
    This terrible system was just forced down the public’s throat.
    Even in England this system is a failure.
    Many owners have left the game and very few new owners are attracted to the game
    all because of this disgusting system.
    Infact if it wasn’t for the Arab Sheiks investing their money in British racing the game would become extinct.
    Many races have only three or four runners
    Whilst other races are contested by eight, nine and twelve year old horses.
    How dare we still call this a progressive system is beyond me.
    We do not want our racing to be destroyed as well by this pathetic system hence we are. complaining.
    Anyways if it’s your opinion that we are talking bucketful of nonsense that is your
    You talk about luddites…What progress are we trying to destroy.
    We do not have to destroy this ugly system
    The handicappers and authorities are doing a good job of that on their own.
    Be it race figures or whatever that was used racing survived for many before the introduction of this crap.
    Sorry to burst your bubble but your adamance to hold on to this deplorable
    Merit Racing Handicapping System is on
    It’s last legs.
    Or should I say it is sinking faster than the Titanic.

  7. Jay August says:

    Asgar you must be having me on. An architect of the almost defunct MR system!

    My involvement in SA racing in any capacity started in August 2019 and then purely on an ad-hoc basis, so your presumption is wide of the mark. Prior to August 2019 my only involvement has been as a punter and enthusiast and that was sporadic through the preceding years. I have never been formally employed in racing nor any industry approximate to racing.

    Unfortunately you will need to search further for the witch you seek to burn for the abominable MR system. I am not that witch although given the nature of witch hunts I suppose my effigy will serve your purpose adequately.

  8. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Asgar Essack please define defunct and on its last legs in terms of merit ratings? Do you have information to share of an imminent change or maybe In a years time or three or four? I also sometimes don’t understand the arithmetic, but when humans interfere with any system it normally cannot please everyone

  9. Jay August says:

    Frankie, Stand By Me mate, it is not that difficult to comprehend once you know that trainers have some say in the matter. Trainers can ask that an MR drop be reduced or cancelled, or for an increase in an MR rise, the latter conditional on the horse having run such a rating in a race.

    I mentioned this to you not too long ago and here we are again.

  10. Asgar Essack says:

    Unfortunately Mr August since you only got
    Seriously involved in horse racing in 2019.
    You did not have the opportunity to enjoy racing in the glory days
    I have been involved in horse racing for more than 40 years as a punter and owner as well.
    Punters used to flock to even a midweek race meeting to watch their horses progress through the divisions.
    Suddenly there came this horrendous system that turned the racing world upside down.
    Many owners, trainers and punters have quit the game because of this system that destroyed their horses future.
    Even if the hard headed members of the organisation persist with this failing system.
    They must consider the current economic climate as well as the great reduction of Stake Monies by almost fifty and sixty
    per cent.
    Points that are dished out mercilessly to winning and placed horses should also be
    distributed proportionately to the stakes decrease.
    This advice should be considered until we have a proper handicapping system whereby all horses have a fair chance to earn some money for their owners.
    And offcourse horses who run unplaced should not be penalised.

  11. MichaelMGJ says:

    Why does Mr Jay August feel that everytime a Merit rating controversy arises, he has to defend the MR system?

    I used to have a lot of respect for his views, and his analysis and stats are world class, but why does he feel he has to defend the Merit rating system in SA? Why is he the lone voice against all the punters who hate the MR handicap system? Why are we always wrong and him and his NHA pals Maharaj and Moodley always right? Surely if the majority of your customers hate your product and or service, you change it? Or do you first go out of business and then you implement the changes? What idiocy! I would say more than 90% of SP posters/punters (including all trainers) hate the MR handicap racing, and less than 10% are in favour of it. And Jay August!

  12. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Jay thanks for your comment. But I really would prefer if a handicapper could answer the question.
    Stop trying to make yourself a good thing when I’m around.
    I mentioned this to you not too long long ago and here we are again.
    Maybe with others you can get it right. Speak when spoken to – careful i might just drop your rating for interference!
    I’ll say it again to you – I’m very well aware of the fact that trainers can ask handicappers to drop a rating or cancel a rating for obvious reasons…Jay you’ll need gelding soon if you keep playing up 🙂

  13. Jay August says:

    Oh Michael, when I propose we go back to Plate races and I also propose we don’t need the NHA’s approval to do so nobody responds. Yet here you are calling me a shill for someone else. Unlike you I am agnostic (indifferent if that word befuddles you) on the MR system and have no issues with it at all other than those I have enumerated on several occasions.

    Balanced people do not have such intolerant views of those they disagree with and your finding my disagreement strange and intolerable says much for your lack of maturity. You purport to know what trainers think, which either renders you delusional or extremely knowledgeable. I’d wager that the silent majority are not as rabidly anti-MR as you believe. The very vocal one’s may be your blind spot and they may also be playing their corner and not at all what they at first appear.

    It is better that someone stands up and fights a corner for the MR system lest a mouthy few sway the debate so much that it is abandoned without proper challenge. If someone had fought the corner of the RF system some 25 years ago perhaps we would not be in the quandary we find ourselves in today.

  14. Jay August says:

    Asgar, you have provided me with a few steady laughs today. Just so you know, I first picked up a race card in 1973 and then was a persistent and regular gambler until 1989 when I finally came of age and resorted to the financial markets rather than a racecourse for my thrills.

    Not only was I around 40 years ago and gambling on RF and Plate races, but I would also wager that my knowledge of both is considerably superior to yours. Keep pointing out what you think you know about me and I can help you along until you get it right.

  15. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Just one more thing ill like to add before I drop your rating Jay…surely to goodness Trainer Doughlas Campbell would love to see Stand By Me’s rating drop,,after not having won in 635 days would you want your horses rating to be dropped Jay August

  16. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Frankie maybe the handicapper is confused that Stand By Me was once known as ” Agence France Press ” of something to that effect but seriously it would assist this debate if we could be informed on why in fact R,F. s were replaced with M.R. s and what are the distinct / pertinent differences between the two systems ?

    I wont bother Jay with this question although I know he has the answers as he appears to have enough on his plate at present so maybe Ed can find another expert to educate us in this regard ?

  17. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Donald that’s why if one understands the rating system one can certainly utilize it to his benefit…on many occasions I’ve managed to capitalize which i thought were errors and still do,, but it’s not only about me it’s about the whole industry trying to understand the system…anyway how they allowed the 4th race to run is besides me,,after smashing his head into the gates they should have known better but to scratch the poor animal,,turning for home Marcus was already sending reminders

  18. Kenny Masilela says:

    I wasn’t there in the RF era but if it’s anything like the graduation and novice plates then it belongs in the past, who would want to bet in small fields won mostly by favourites.

  19. MichaelMGJ says:

    I agree that the Novice and Graduation plates have small fields nowadays, but if it was the natural progression for all maiden and two time winners then in time it would fill fields.

    If it was programmed regularly, for both sexes and over various distances, it would be accepted by most. It would help trainers, owners even handicappers to better assess young horses. Maybe the horses should only get a merit rating after 2 runs in this class, unless it wins of course. Novice Pates was for 1 time winners, Graduation Plates were for 2 time winners. Then onto Progress Plates before the handicap class.

    Something similar was tried with Assessment plates in Gauteng a couple of years ago, but it failed. The idea was good, not sure why it failed.

    Maybe the RF system should not be totally dismantled, but it needs an intervention at the young horse level, where the ability has not yet been correctly assessed, and horses are over-rated too early in their careers. Establishing a proper post-maiden win level of races could go a long way to address the MR handicapping conundrum we find ourselves in in South Africa.

  20. Graham Martin says:

    Kenny, if you were’nt around during the RF era and know nothing about it then rather not comment on it, thank you. If you had been around during the RF era then you would understand what all the fuss is about the MR handicapping system!

  21. Jay August says:

    Frankie, what I would want is not what you may want, or what Doug Campbell may want. It is somewhat condescending of either of us to presume we know what Doug Campbell may or would want in this case.

    Drop my rating as much as you feel necessary, it’s your prerogative.

  22. Asgar Essack says:

    Kenny my friend. Unfortunately you are only looking at racing from a betting perspective.
    Those Graduate and Novice plate fields might be small but they were full of quality
    And the excitement they generated were
    enough to attract race goers day in and day out.
    Perhaps I can show you in simple terms the damage created by the merit rating system.
    Lets take todays third race at the Vaal which is fortunately a Graduation Plate for 3 year old fillies.
    There is a two time winner Greens in the race who has a race figure of 96.
    Then there is a one time winner Rapid Fire who is carrying 57 kilos and rated 98.
    Greens is carrying 60 kilograms.
    Had this been a merit rated handicap which horse will be carrying more weight Rapid Fire or Greens ?
    Obviously Rapid Fire although it is only a one time winner.
    This is one of the. best and exciting race on the card.
    Greens can obtain it’s third victory.
    Whilst horses like Rapid Fire or Shalpm Queen. can achieve their second victory.
    If you still prefer a big field MR 58 merit rating fillies and mares handicap.
    Then I rest my case.
    As for Jay August he’s passion for the merit rating is making his eyesight weakone
    Because he does not read the comments of leading trainers on.this site
    Recently Dean Kannemeyer was very unhappy about the weight allocated to his
    One time winner Liberty Hall.
    Which did not have the liberty of winning another race during his entire 3 year old career.
    Top trainer MDK also complained
    Some owners on this site are also complaining
    Some owners and trainers are so fed up and frustrated that they are a actually contemplating emigration.
    The Authorities must do something as soon as possible to stop the slippery slide.
    People must understand the fact that Owners and Trainers will not openly express their disdain for the system.
    Because they are afraid that their horses will be victimized by the handicsppers.

  23. Jay August says:

    Kenny is one of the more lucid punters I have spoken to privately and he certainly can teach the old dogs commenting here a few tricks. Don’t under estimate his relative youth or his ability to read the mind of young punters.

    It is symptomatic of the over 50 club to think they know more than the younger set, or indeed know how the younger set should think. Kenny, never listen to an old man intent on telling you how great the past was, rather listen only to the old man who tells you what in his younger days should be ignored. The latter involves mostly truth while the former involves mostly a lament for a lost past.

  24. Asgar Essack says:

    To those who feel that we are only a handful of people complaining about this ghastly merit rating system.
    News just in regarding Miss Florida goes
    to Ridgemont Highlands
    I quote trainer Justin Snaith
    ” As it has proven in the case of many exciting young fillies the Merit Rating Penalty that she was limbered with when winning that GR 1 at Holllywood Scotsville
    Put her on the back foot.But she always
    ran her heart out giving weight away in a variety of features against the best “.
    If some people still think that we are dishing out buckets full of nonsense when we criticize this awful Merit Rating handicap system then So Be It ..
    Justin Snaith is one of the best trainers in this country and I hope people in the organisation take heed of what he has just said.
    If more trainers rightfully condemn this system I am sure the Authorities will have no alternative but to scrap this system.
    And come about with a new system that will be fair to all horses, owners and trainers.
    Lets hope sanity prevails and this nightmarish system will be abandoned very soon.

  25. Asgar Essack says:

    Ag! Shame Jay August the bombs are falling on your head left right and center.
    Sorry but you will not find the support you require for this disastrous system because many owners, trainers and punters are starting to see the light.
    Just like Michael Iam also wandering why the Great Jay August is hellbent on defending a system which clearly isn’t
    Surely younger punters like Kenny will never be lured to the races to watch six and seven year old mares competing in a MR 58
    Merit Rated Handicap day in and day out.
    Stop influencing the poor guy and give him the chance to decide for himself.
    All I can see Jay is that you are fighting a loosing battle.

  26. Jay August says:

    Asgar, next time you and Mr Snaith have a discussion ask him this question; why has he as a leading influencer in the Cape not been ingenuous in negating the effects of the MR system by ensuring the race program there supports “progressive” (although in her case “regressive” may be a better definition) horses such as Miss Florida?

    He could if he were to convince his fellow infleuncers do so tomorrow without infringing NHA rules. All that is required are three ingredients;

    1 – an alternative that works in practice and is sustainable;
    2 – general agreement from the majority of connections in the W.Cape;
    3 – continual support of 1 by 2.

    The authorities you refer to are definitely not the problem. That I know for a fact.

    If one lacks the ingenuity and fluidity of thinking which would create an elegant workaround, and an ability to influence those who are sceptical and need some persuasion, then the problem lies with oneself and not with the “authorities”.

    It gets really boring listening to the most successful trainers in SA blaming others for their own failures while taking personal credit for their own successes.

  27. Graham Martin says:

    I agree with you 100% Asgar! but what will happen? Nothing! Racing will limp along into the future with the same old same old. Will change take place? I doubt it. Right from the beginning I could sense that something was wrong or something was’nt right. I complained about this abhorrent Merit Rating system many times but was shown the finger (literally ) Us punters that know something about horse racing can only hope for the future! I’m on your side till the end!

  28. Graham Martin says:

    This is a message for Jay August. Jay you really disappointed me with your recent comment relating to Kenny. You say that Kenny is a lucid punter and can teach an old dog new tricks? With no disrespect to Kenny I doubt that statement could be true.Remember us old dogs (as you kindly put it ) were also young punters earlier on in our lives. It is quite obvious that an old and experienced punter like us, who have been there and done that, will have more knowledge and experience about horse racing than a younger punter. Mainly because we’ve done Race Figure and Merit rating so we will know what we are talking about. Has Kenny got Archived race cards from the seventies? Does he know the difference between RF and MR? I doubt it. Due to the life time amount of hard work that I put into Horse racing ( willingly because I enjoy it and it’s a passion for me ) I feel quite insulted by you for making irresponsible statements about the older brigade. But here’s a question for you Jay, what information does Kenny use when he punts, is it one of the following:
    1) Does he guess
    2) Does he take lucky numbers
    3) Does he gaze into a crystal ball or
    4) None of the above
    It can’t be consistent form lines or any kind of form because there is none (most of the time anyway)

  29. Asgar Essack says:

    Well said brother.True we may be old,but we are wise.
    Furthermore we will .never ever roll over and die.
    Every day more and more trainers are giving their true opinion about this horrible destructive system that is hindering the progress of their horses and affecting their livelihoods
    Many frustrated owners are selling their horses in Mauritius.
    This results in lower revenue for our trainers.
    The warning lights are flashing it is upto the Authorities to do something or just allow the game to die.

  30. Steve Reid says:

    I never thought that I would ever say this but Karel is being sorely missed and I hope that he resurfaces at some stage to sort of some of this nonsense. Playing the man and not the ball. No one wins and nothing is learnt.

    My views on MR are well documented and those of you that are serious about understanding this system could do a lot worse than trawl the pages of SP and find Karels excellent contribution on explaining the workings of the MR system ( Mr. Ed could you perhaps publish the link, I had a quick search and couldnt find what I was looking for ). In these pieces, Karel invited debate on the system and some healthy adult discussions were had, unlike the crud I’m witnessing now.

    I dislike the MR system but at least I understand it far better than most give me credit for. These attacks on Jay August and others are inappropriate and ignorant. I have become friendly with Jay over the past few years and will say, without fear of being contradicted that if he states something publicly, he has done his homework. It is fine and healthy to have different opinions – he and I have many – but come to the party with facts and not assumptions, or even worse, total ignorance. Casting aspersions on an individuals character because his opinion differs to yours is not cool. South African racing has many influential people with inflated egos and delusions of self-importance who do this and have done so for decades. We don’t need more. Graeme Hawkins and Patrick Davis, those great supporters of stayers, don’t need competition.

    The powers that be need to broaden their horizons and see what is being done elsewhere. There is room for the MR system but alternatives need to be implemented. Australia has the answer. It is unfortunate that egos have come in the way of common sense.

    1. Editor says:

      Here is the second ed – in the body, readers can click on part 1


    2. Editor says:

      Hi Steve
      Our policy does not permit personal attacks.
      If you can highlight any specific item you feel cast aspersions on any individual’s character, we are willing to immediately review the post.

  31. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Steve Reid it’s. very kind of you to jump
    to your pals Jays defence as he really seems to need some support.
    However when Jay August insults us that we are talking buckets full of .nonsense.
    or we are luddites and obsessed with past glory and refuse to change.,You are silent as a grave.
    Furthermore we have a democratic right to speak about the demerits of a horrible,
    despicable Merit Rated Handicapping
    System that is responsible for the almost
    Complete destruction of our beautiful sport.
    I am sure that you will agree that horse
    racing is a sport where horses are trained to win races.
    In this case horses are trained to lose because trainers are afraid to even run a place lest their horses will be burdened to carry 4 or 5 kilos extra next time out.
    We must realise that the handicappers have nothing to lose.
    It is the owners and trainers who are worried because their horses are unfairly treated.
    We punters also lose out because we are deprived to watch good horses progress through the divisions as we are hammered daily by MR 58 and MR ,,60 fillies and mares handicaps..
    Jay August asks for examples.I can give him a hundred.
    But he is adamant and a die hard supporter of the Merit Rating System.
    Even if leading trainers complain about this system.Jay August is not moved.
    Sometimes I wonder if Jay August is hired by the organisation to protect this failing system because the manner in which he defends this system as though his life depends on it.
    Alternatively if he has decided to protect
    this destructful system on his own accord
    then he should not cry but face the music of many unhappy owners ,trainers and disgrunted punters.
    Jay August or anybody else are totally
    Naive if they think that hundreds of active owners and trainers will talk against this system because its obvious they are afraid of been victimised.
    However we will continue to comment on the damage this system is causing until it is scrapped.

  32. Jay August says:

    Only someone with deeply flawed reasoning tools, an illogical brain, and an inability to debate an issue resorts to defining the person in opposition to their view as being on the payroll of someone, a shill in other words. Cowards argue this way once they have quickly exhausted their shallow persuasion threshold.

    Attack me in any way you see fit Asgar as that attack defines your lack of emotional fortitude not mine. I shall not budge from a position arrived at through proper analysis, introspection and deliberation. I do not need to quote the words of a trainer or trainers or any other person as they neither define my position or create any position for me. Sycophancy has never been a strong point with me.

    Many who comment on SP, or attack me in private, add to their attempt to persuade the assertion that they have “xx years of experience”. The act of adding this to a debate says much for their inability to convey the point they most wish to persuade. Years of experience tells one nothing about the correctness of an assertion or whether that assertion is worth considering.

  33. Mike Saxon says:

    Agree that the system is not producing what we saw in the days of the RF system.
    Even the Mauritius racing system is allowing good horses to progress through the divisions.
    Look at WHITE RIVER for example.
    The MR system must be scrapped immediately in third world SA Racing, where horses are losing shoes and getting withdrawn at the start like never before.

  34. Asgar Essack says:

    To all the die hards of the MR system.
    I would like to respond to another flaw in the system.
    Take a look at race 7 on todays Scotsville card.
    Sanskrit and Maidens Prayer are. both 4 year old fillies.
    Sanskrit is a rhree time winner whilst
    Maidens Prayer is a one time winner
    Sanskrit is carrying 55,5 kilos whilst
    Maidens Prayer is carrying 58 kilos.
    The difference of 2,5 kilos is evident to all and sundry.
    Can somebody please explain this disparity.
    Following questions:
    What criterion was used by the handicappers when allocating these weights.
    Why was Maiden Prayer so highly rated just after one win as a early 3 year old.
    Point of observation immediately after she broke her maiden.
    She contested s MR 92 Fillies race where she trailed in last of sixteen runners.
    Maidens Prayer failed to win another race
    As a 3 year old.
    Even today as a 4 year old she needs an absolute prayer to beat a horse like Sanskrit.
    Sanskrit is fortunate to have escaped the wrath of the handicappers for her last two victories.
    Since she is now used to winning she can easily attain her fourth victory..
    The problem that concerns me is that how many races Maidens Prayer has to lose
    In order to be competitive again.
    Because at this rate she would need an absolute miracle to win another race before she is retired to stud.
    I am sure that many people would agree with me that had there been Novice and Graduation Plates Maodens Prayer
    would have been a two or three time winner
    by now.
    Frankly speaking this horse has been robbed of earning winning stakes of two or three races for her owners
    For those that feel I am still talking nonsense it is your preogative.

  35. Jay August says:

    Asgar, it is painfully obvious when reading your comments that you do not pay attention to detail and your ability to torture logic is impressive.

    “Point of observation immediately after she broke her maiden. She contested s MR 92 Fillies race where she trailed in last of sixteen runners.” – incorrect as the race in question was the WESTERN CAPE FILLIES CHAMPIONSHIP (GRADE II), where only 3 of the 16 fillies were rated lower than Maidens Prayer.

    “Maidens Prayer failed to win another race as a 3 year old.” – fact: she raced twice more at 3 with a gap of 7 months before her reappearance in June. Are you really blaming a 7 month gap on the handicappers and a rating?

    “I am sure that many people would agree with me that had there been Novice and Graduation Plates Maidens Prayer would have been a two or three time winner by now.” – 2 or 3 wins from her remaining 4 starts – really, just like that?

    “Frankly speaking this horse has been robbed of earning winning stakes of two or three races for her owner.” – I presume that you believe that some other horse (a lowly rated MR58 filly of indeterminate age for instance) won a race/s that Maidens Prayer should have won. Are the owners of that mare now complicit in the robbing of Maidens Prayer’s owners, or do wins and stakes magically materialise from the ether?

    Lastly, let me revert back to my question above which you have so neatly avoided. Why are your mates in CT not asking the operator to program more Plate races as these races have no restriction on their staging by the NHA?

    Who in CT is stopping them from doing so and why are they not replacing every single “despicable” MR Handicap with a Plate race as they can freely do should they so wish? Who therefore is coercing the silent majority into submission on this matter and for what purpose?

  36. Asgar Essack says:

    Jay August I don’t understand what you are talking about.”My mates in CT”.
    Please! do not try to imply that I haven’t a mind of my own because then you would have drifted totally off track.
    The comments that I make against this terrible system are entirely my own.
    The burning issues that I have against this
    disgusting system affects not only owners and trainers of C.T. but the whole country.
    When I talk about scrapping your beloved
    MR system.I refer to the whole.country especially Natal and Gauteng..
    The problem with you Jay is that you are under the illusion that only a handful of people are against this despicable system..
    You keep on saying that CT has their own rules.I would like to bring to your attenrion
    That KR racing was under the umbrellla body of Phumelela Racing for the past many years and as such were forced to follow protocols..
    Finally I was fully aware that the race in CT was the Western cape fillies classic because there was a lot of controversy regarding the Fairview raider World Radar which was also allocated a very high rating for that race.
    However she also ran unplaced and struggled to win another race even at
    I hoped that you would be able to explain
    On what grounds was Maidens Prayer rated 92 after just a hard fought Maiden victory.
    Obviously Maidens Prayer had to be kept
    Away for seven months since there are no Graduation or Plate races for her.
    Furthermore she has to run unplaced in a million races before she can come down
    to a reasonable rating.
    By the way Sanskrift herself had to run many races before her merit rating dropped and she could win again
    You alluded in one of your comment that why didn’t we defend the RF System
    25 years ago.
    All I can say that the wool was pulled over our eyes.
    People were lead to believe that this was a
    Fool proof system.
    We could not compare the system with the RF system as there was not much data to go on.
    It took the racing public along time but they are finally realising the harm that the MR System is doing to our beautiful game.
    Hopefully you or anybody else would not be able to protect this system from certain death.

  37. Jay August says:

    “Obviously Maidens Prayer had to be kept Away for seven months since there are no Graduation or Plate races for her. Furthermore she has to run unplaced in a million races before she can come down to a reasonable rating.” – actually she ran unplaced twice and once was a Grade 3 race.

    Using words like “obviously” without proof beyond rank speculation, and phrases such as “a million times” merely confirms my previous opening assertion.

    When you purport to be on the side of trainers and owners and quote a leading CT trainer, you open yourself up for the “mates” comment. It is called sarcasm unless you are in any doubt.

    Once again please answer the question as to who the people are (you refer to them as authorities elsewhere) that refuse to allow Plate races? Name them – this is now the third time I am asking.

    No wool has been pulled over anyone’s eyes. The facts are very inconvenient for the 99% you allege are against the MR system. The entire several hundred pages of NHA rules have a mere 5 mentions of “Merit Ratings” and there is no absolute rule that such races must be programmed or that such ratings must be used. Whoever has told you so is either not very thorough, or is a liar, or both. Worse you have not even read the rules but have the temerity to proclaim knowledge on the matter.

    There is no grand plot and there is no ban on Plate races or Race Figure type races. The operators can program these races and banish all MR races from their program if they so wish and they could do so tomorrow. They may lack the ingenuity to do so but that is not the fault of the MR system, rather it is a indictment on the inability of the race programmers to think out of the box and convince trainers of the merits of doing so.

    I have been one of the few to call for the reduction of MR races, on SP, and have proposed a means to do that. I did that several months ago. Rather than being hell bent on retaining the MR system I have offered the way forward to anyone eager to rid SA racing of the MR system. But let the truth not get in the way of your hysteria. Karel Miedema proffered a solution as far back as 1986 and he was ignored then and is still ignored today!

    Instead, conniption is the only response from all on the matter of MRs. That such a response finds a home with two senior trainers says much about how far down a rabbit hole SA racing has descended in the last decade. If anything is becoming clear it is that faux outrage is all the current crop of leaders have in their toolbox.

  38. Roderick Mattheyse says:

    Asgar Essack – why do you have the needle to facts:

    He says “Finally I was fully aware that the race in CT was the Western cape fillies classic because there was a lot of controversy regarding the Fairview raider World Radar which was also allocated a very high rating for that race.
    However she also ran unplaced and struggled to win another race even at

    The facts will display that she won her very next race beating the colts albeit a half kilo better off with Hooves of Troy on their rtings at the time. She then ran unplaced in a listed race, she then won a listed race beating the same filed she ran unplaced to on worse weight terms despite a big ratings drop – her rating was obviously upped for the performance which indicated that her ratings drop was incorrect. Her very next run she went to cape town to win the champagne stakes a group 3, confirming her rating – the form of the champagne stakes is strong as there have been 3 winners a second a third and a fifth from as many runs.

    This cant be the best example to highlight the flaws of the rating system – by the way Maidens Prayer a 1 time winner gave Sanskift a 3 time winner weight and a hiding – that must have shocked you and drained your betting bankroll…
    Come on Asgar dont be lazy find some real factual examples

    I was not a believer of World Radars rating but she has proven it.

    The whole populations rtings are too high – but it is of no consequence as it applies to the whole population

  39. Asgar Essack says:

    To Jay and Roderick why are you two evading my main question.
    Why was Maidens Prayer Rated 92 just after one maiden win.
    As Roderick pointed out Sanskrift is a three time winner yet she was allocated 55,5 kgs.
    Whilst Maidens Prayer who just managed
    to win one race was allocated 58 kilos.
    Where is the justice..
    Furthermore the three time winner Arianos
    Shadow also carried half a kilo less weight
    than Maidens Prayer.
    My point was that Maidens Prayer could never win the race.
    As far as Sanskrift getting trounced,
    One Swallow doesn’t make a summer.
    Lets wait and see how the handicappers crucify Maidens Prayer for running a place.
    My excuse for Sanskrift is the possible effects of a trainer and jockey change also lets wait for the stipes report..
    Also when I spoke about a horse called Liberty Hall a one time winner who contested the last race on July day
    He was terribly disadvantaged at the weights with three and four time winners
    GG’s Destiny and Born To Perform.
    Nobody responded.
    Until I don’t get a response regarding this issue nobody will be able to sway my opinion regarding this horrible,horrible MR
    Rating System.
    People can try all types of innovations but if they continue to proceed with this system horse racing will never prosper in

  40. Rod Mattheyse says:

    Asgar I’m not trying to sway your view at all – but to use the one time winner vs 3 time winner as an argument has no merit – pun intended – as regards Maidens Prayer the handicapper realised his error and dropped her rating accordingly – her subsequent runs have shown her mark is about spot on now.

    There are about 8000 horses rated – how many do you think are unfairly rated against the population. If there are plenty then surely you are going to smack the bookies hard!

    I’m no fan of the merit rating system as I think it rewards mediocrity and in all the instances I have raised with handicappers regarding ratings of my horses – the handicappers have been proven correct bar 1.

  41. Jay August says:

    Asgar, she was rated 92 because given the collateral line that is what the handicapper assessed her at. Perhaps the theory and application oof handicapping evades you. Now answer my question.

  42. Asgar Essack says:

    Frankly I don’t know what to say.
    Rod says the handicapper made a mistake
    and had since adjusted Maidens Prayers rating
    Jay speaks of a collateral line. that was used to give the 92 rating.
    Lets see her new rating after Sundays race.
    However I still wait with bated breadth
    Regarding the rating of one time maiden winner Liberty Hall who was badly weighted on July day.
    Sorry to open old wounds but I am still haunted by the debacle surrounding a potential Super Star the Justin Snaith trained General Franco who’s future was put to the sword by the handicappers after one magnificent victory .
    Sad if he only ends up as a one time winner.

  43. G Goliath says:

    Wow, Alumites in front unshod behind. Thank you all for this back and forth battle regarding MR system. I can’t pick a winner so it’s a dead heat for me.
    Turff today 15 September Race 4:
    No 1 Gypsy Woman 61kgs won a MdwfG by 0.25l
    After 4 attempts.
    Compare this horse with Miss Khalifa @ 60kgs and Golden Spiral @ 59.5kgs.
    Did the handicapper make a mistake or is it just me.
    NB: I come in peace. LoL

  44. Asgar Essack says:

    Sorry mate, but rest assured you will have
    to wait for ever to get a response from the innovator’s of this horrendous MR System
    You will be very fortunate to get a response
    From the defender of the Throne Mr Jay

  45. Jay August says:

    What does G Goliath see that requires explanation? That work rider races are overrated? That ratings are uncorrelated to number of wins?

    Asgar, Liberty Hall ran second to the Champion of his generation (so far), Got The Greenlight in an age group Grade 1. His trainers angst represents a lament for the fact that unlike GTG he did not train on and his rating now appears in stark contrast to that horse. Nothing stops the programmers from catering for this horse in order to eliminate any doubt about his true ability with age. And how about the fallacious arguing that General Franco was a potential superstar but for the handicappers.

    I have sympathy with trainers that try their horses in Pattern races, get high ratings for failure in those races, and then struggle with how to place their horses in future when those horses either do not train on or are surpassed by others. But the handicapper is not to blame as their job is to handicap what they see, and compromising that with all manner of restriction is not handicapping but figuring. Figuring is what people do when they have no idea what they are doing but think they do.

    The real blame is to be laid at the feet of race programmers as they have free will to adapt a program for the Liberty Halls et al, yet they continually get a free ride. An inability to comprehend the trade-offs between Pattern attempts, ratings, maturity and luck is not the handicappers fault. Place the blame where it lies – race programmers – and you may start to find the solution to the problem.

    There are many ways the programmers could create a more adaptable and flexible race program, one which caters for the vast majority of horses and also makes allowances for the anomalies along the way. Doing so however requires some ingenuity and an ability to sell that to the greater core of trainers in order to get decent field size. My guess is the selling is hard work and it is easier to allow the handicapper to be blamed. Race programmers simply have no incentive ot do anything as they are not being blamed for the problem.

    If we carry on blaming MRs for factors which are outside the domain of the handicapper all that happens over time is we kick the same old can down the same old dusty road. SA racing seems pretty adept at kicking cans. Those who are most vocal have been kicking the same can for many years now. When will it stop?

  46. G Goliath says:

    Avoiding the question again have a look at the field in Race 4 at Turff.
    I cannot write an article like you do but hey if you believe what you are saying is correct so be it.
    Nobody not even the trainers that work will be able to convince you otherwise.

  47. Jay August says:

    There is no question. You simply made an observation qualified with a personal rhetorical statement. You don’t have to write an article. Articulating a proper question is a start. But as you believe that what you see is so self evident that it is obvious, here we are. Hopefully you do not employ this reasoning when you gamble.

  48. Asgar Essack says:

    Jay August I do admire the sterling effort you are doing as defender of the throne.
    Just when I thought that I finally had your
    number regarding Liberty Hall and General Franco you threw us a curved ball about the programmers.
    Surely you can’t be referring to the trainers
    when you talk about programmers.
    It is evident to all and sundry that handicappers and not programmers are mercilessly dishing out the points after races that are run.
    Are you blaming the programmers for giving
    General Franco such a high Merit Rating just for one easy victory..
    Poor Liberty Hall’s career came to a standstill because he ran 2nd in a graded feature.Although he been a one time winner he was destroyed by the handicappers
    It is not that Got The Green Light trained on and Liberty Hall didn’t.
    We must realise that this race was the first race for the just turned 3 year olds.
    Name the races that highly rated one time winner Liberty Hall could compete in.
    With limited opportunities Liberty Hall had to wait to contend the 3 year old features in Gauteng or Cape Town.
    Not all trainers and owners have the means to travel to other provinces.
    The current situation whereby horses are severely penalised for running a place in a graded race is insane.
    It seriously hinders a horses progress
    Urgent steps are necessary to a avoid a declining interest by owners ,trainers and punters in horse racing..
    In the best interest of the sport some sort
    of compromise has to be reached soon.
    One Sport two Systems must be considered.

  49. hilton witz says:

    Asgar before debating issues do some homework as you are way out of your league discussing the above ,in fact why jay august actually replies to your garbage is the 8th wonder of the world ..

  50. hilton witz says:

    You have 1 years experience in racing 50 times over not 50 years experience in racing and maybe go look and study st johns grays filly race record who has won 6 in a row dance class before you talk your next round of rubbish as the clues to what mr august is speaking about are in there..

  51. Jay August says:

    Another clue for Asgar.

    Race 5 today at Fairview – Conditions Plate with 7 time winner – 6 consecutive wins for Racine entering the race.

  52. Asgar Essack says:

    At least you two guys have finally got something to rave about.
    Just to clear the air I never had a problem with winning horses that were not killed by points allocated.
    By the way I am fully aware that the horse Bohica was also very fortunate not to
    receive a heavy penalty
    Well when Dance Class won her sixth race I was also over the moon because it was poetry in motion.
    I was grateful that she escaped the wrath of the handicappers.
    This is what I am talking about and what I am fighting for.
    I want to see many more horses win four,five and six races in a row who knows we might even get a Winx in S.Africa.
    Keep your Eyes Wide Open for a looming clash of Anna Capri and Winter Smoke in a Graduation Plate were both fillies will be going for their third victory
    I am sure you guys will also enjoy this
    Show down.
    I hope Dance Class and Racine have shown you two what horses can achieve when they are not Overrated and burdened by the
    However don’t be too happy because the handicappers will rear their ugly head again.

  53. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Asgar and RF believers just watch the space,, i think you’ll get some great satisfaction out of the result,,that’s if Jay and Co will except the challenge to answer a few of my questions,, we are only a few days away from scratchings and once the final fields are done,,I’ll like Jay and Co to be on standby,,I’ll prefer if the wizard Jay could do the answering,, it will add a bit more spice to the questions…can’t wait… Lol

  54. Graham Martin says:

    Merit ratings should be increased gradually and we will then see a lot more consistency in form lines, we will be able to witness horses like Golden Loom, Flobayou, Taban, Fov’s Favourite and many more! It can happen if the right people put their mind to it!

  55. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Frankie ,my money is on you brother and I am confident that you will win any argument.
    However please don’t win by a country mile
    Or else the handicappers will destroy with you with a very high Merit Rating.
    I can’t wait.

  56. Jonathan Harris says:

    Did not have the time or inclination to go through some of these long-winded essays, but has anyone noticed that in the two progress races run recently, almost all the horses with one exception would have run closer to the winners if rated according there M.R ratings? Does it tell a story?

  57. Jonathan Harris says:

    I meant weighted according to their M.R. ratings

  58. Jay August says:

    Pose your questions or accusations via a proper letter Frankie and let’s take it from there.

    If you have such confidence in your assertions about whatever it is you wish to vanquish me with then don’t chicken out with an excuse about not writing letters, or other such weak response.

    Looking forward to seeing water tight evidence of my apparent folly.

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