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Hollywoodbets Greyville – All The Selections

First off at 12h30

The National Punters’ Guide for today’s Hollywoodbets Greyville meeting has been published.

The first is off at 12h30.

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59 comments on “Hollywoodbets Greyville – All The Selections

  1. Asgar Essack says:

    High merit rating defeats Jacks Bird.
    I couldn’t help but notice that Jacks Bird was rated 100 but she only has a single Maiden victory to her name
    Which was achieved more than a year ago
    on the 26 June 2020.
    This horse has been struggling to win ever since.
    Her rating fell from 100 to 90 but because
    she ran 6 th in the Fillies Guineas her rating was upped from 90 to 95.
    Indirectly she didn’t earn any stake money for running sixth but she did earn 5 points.
    How on earth will this fillies rating ever come down so she can win her next race.
    I firmly believe that owners and trainers
    Should avoid running their horses in big races because it is detrimental for their horses future.
    First of all they are running for points and secondly if their horse is a one time winner
    It will take years before their horse attains their second victory.
    For how long more will this unjust ,frustrating system prevail.
    I hope that 10 points should be deducted
    From every horse to make them competitive.
    Let sanity prevail. for heavens sake.

  2. Graham Martin says:

    Asgar there’s only one way to solve the Merit Rating debacle and that is to fire the so called handicappers and start afresh! Change the system so that one time winners are given the chance of winning again, in other words make it a fair system! Majestic Mozart and Ollivander from the Bass yard are two horses that come to mind who were only one time winners but who had high merit ratings for running either unplaced or a place behind a higher rated horse. Where is Ollivander now? Retired as a one time winner? I repeat FIRE THE HANDICAPPERS! Get rid of them A.S.A.P.

  3. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Graham. Even if we give examples to strengthen our case.
    Some people will still claim that we are talking nonsense.
    Frankly speaking nonsense is exactly what the authorities are shoving down our throats on a daily basis.
    Hopefully someone up there realises the mess of the Merit Rating System and sorts it out.
    Otherwise just like some top owners and trainers ,we have to quit the game as well.
    It must be remembered that we the punters and horses are the live wire of
    this game

  4. Jonathan Harris says:

    So firing those who administer the system makes sense?
    Really? It makes as much sense as food being given the blame and not the chef!
    Any handicapping system has its pros and cons. Shrewd punters can use any system or conditions of races to his/her advantage. And so can the connections of horses i.e.trainers and owners. There will always be consequences to the actions they take. The predecessor to the M.R system where horses were weighted according to races won was also fraught with deficiencies. 1 time winners could easily beat horses with more wins under their belt after running close to very good horses and those runs ignored by the handicapper as per those rules. As i said any system should be understood and used to your benefit be it a punter, owner or trainer. Using examples of horses unfairly penalized under the current system are far in the minority and does nobody any good.

  5. Jay August says:

    “Graham Martin says:
    30th May 2019 at 7:43 am
    Vardy was receiving 2kg from One world and beat him by 2,25 length’s, he beat a horse who clearly does’nt go 1800m! What a farce this merit rating system is! Vardy is a 4 time winner and has won one Gr3 race. He is rated only 3 points below Soqrat, a 5 time winner and 3 Gr1 races at that! He is rated one point higher than Twist Of Fate, a 6 time winner including the Gr2 Natal Guineas. A merit rating of 118? absolute RUBBISH! Fire the handicappers, the whole lot of them!”

    Graham Martin truths uttered in May 2019:
    1 – One World clearly does not go 1800m.
    2 – Vardy, the subsequent Queens Plate winner and 2020 Champion miler, was overrated after beating One World, the subsequent Met winner, and all because number of wins is evidence of ability.

    None of this is, however, topped by the insightful comment from Asgar – “I hope that 10 points should be deducted From every horse to make them competitive.”

    What manner of fool(s) have we here?

    It is sad that SP, having pioneered the theory and understanding of handicapping in SA, has now plumbed the depths by soliciting comment from posters as evidently challenged by logic as this!

  6. Graham Martin says:

    Hi Jay, thanks for the response, now read the following carefully. I see you are referring to comments that I made in May right? When was the Greenpoint stks run? In December right? which is more than 6 months later. Now let me tell you that I backed Vardy to win the Green point stks, I also backed him to win the Queens Plate Jay and I backed One World to win the Met, If you want proof I can show you the proof! I actually backed both Vardy and One World in all three races, why? because there was a lot of COLLATERAL form between the both of them! that’s why Jay. I’m not the fool you think I am! I’ve been in this game for a long time! Now let me remind you of another comment I made about Collateral form working out well with the Merit Rating System and the R.F. system BUT collateral form only works out well with the MR system with the very top horses in the country, not in the lower division races BECAUSE of the MR system. Remember that I had a lot of time between May and December to study form (Collateral form).

  7. Graham Martin says:

    P.S. It’s sad that the MR system of handicapping has reduced horse racing in this country to a guessing game or lucky numbers and a lottery! Where form is non existent!

  8. GGoliath says:

    My fellow SP readers.
    I would refrain from getting into a debate about merit ratings with Jay, he is the advocate of the MR system.Regardless of the examples and evidence you put to him he will just start writing article after article and avoid your question the best he can..He has 50 years of experience and we have none.Sounds like he is on the panel working out the ratings for these horses.
    Good luck to all who tries to challenge him.
    Get your bets on and remember these words;
    “The key to eternal happiness is not to argue with FOOLS”
    Happy PUNTING.

  9. G McDonald says:

    Cecil,we know Vetch’s Pier is a good spot to go snorkeling,but just want to know if horses will be allowed to go snorkeling Sunday at Hollywoodbets Greyville

  10. Jay August says:

    Somehow I knew that through some contortion of logic you would make sense of your own criticism levelled in May 2019 and with the hindsight of 2020. This is after all how those that make the most errors of judgement in predicting outcome condone their own lack of insight at any point in time.

    Once again you decry the MR system for creating a lottery when the fact remains that the race programmer decides what races to program and in what order, and therefore they decide what constitutes a P6, P4, BP and PA, and how difficult or easy these are for punters to predict.

    This is always lost on observers like yourself, as you reduce everything to the barest emotion without much contemplation and without any critical thinking.

  11. Graham Martin says:

    OK Jay, I’m with you on that one, Programming is a big issue and it should be attended to by the Powers that be! Horse racing CAN become a game of skill again if all horses are given a FAIR chance of winning.

  12. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey….
    Asgar do yourself a favour and ask Mr Professor Jay August 2 simple questions…would the Sean Tarry trained Victoria Paige be a 2 time winner if we were racing under the RF system ? i would confidently say that she would be a 4 time winner by now,, I’ll bet my life on it that 96% of the racing industry would agree with me,,unless they are still on the White House pay roll…The exact same question should be asked about the Alec Laird now trained Pack Leader…. How on earth can they allow Victoria Paige to run in a Graduation Plate,,she was beaten by 2,5 Lengths to Horse Of The Year Summer Pudding…. Pack Leader another who falls in the same type of category as V P got beat by 4 lenghts to Vardy In the Green Point with Rainbow Bridge and One World finishing just in front of Pack Leader and not forgetting that he was a July nominee be allowed to run in Graduation Plates albeit I see that P L is now a scratching for graduation plate on the 29th..there’s got be more to why Jay keeps supporting the handicappers and so on…. I wonder how *Undercover Agent* is doing in Mauritius ? any idea guy’s Lol

  13. Tony Mincione says:

    For a while now I just skip past any post that want to argue Merit Ratings with examples. Because you can prove your case in one instance and it can easily be contradicted in the next. Horses are not machines, and the conditions, distances, tactics and luck in the running will not be identical.

    The general rule is anything can be bad, but bad can’t be good. If you are capable of an A+, you can still get an F, but if you are not capable of an A, then you won’t get an A (exceptions discussed over alcohol).

    Given ALL that, race horses are remarkably consistent. And the better they are, the more consistent I find them to be.

    @Jonathan Harris (above): I agree 100%: ” There will always be consequences to the actions they take.” – Words to live by, thank you.

    If we say about half of all races are for non-winners, a quarter are lottery handicaps and a quarter are “higher” handicaps (in features), higher plate races and graded races (hcps, conditions and WFA).

    Mr G.Martin says “fire the handicappers” and hangs himself right there, so moving on. The handicappers will process the outcomes of races consistency (I have found) within the constraints of the rules as massaged by the handicapping panel.

    That panel is representative of the owners (through their agents, the trainers) and industry proffessionals. Their agenda has been to look after “bad” horses, and that’s a debate on it’s own.

    Punters are not represented because it’s a label, not an organisation with a purpose. Punters are like consumers, or a market, they represent themselves by their actions. They basically optimize for their best outcome over time, which explains the demise of the tote to the millimeter.

    Anyone who talks for the punters without facts from data is a self-serving fraud/conman.

    Do we need a proper look at what kind of races we have and if they serve a the game as a whole? Hell, yes!

    Have a nice day 😀

  14. Cecil Pienaar says:

    Hello G Mac, lol, true story. Watch for an early call from the operators, 34deg today all over the ‘magic’ province but Wet and cold weekend. Switch to Pmb not possible either, more than 5 mm predicted for the Capital. But impressive, Sunday is 4th Ntl meeting in 8 days, a Natal based horse won the readers choice Stayers award. Hilton convinced the gang to reintroduce comments on 1st timers. Good stuff, hope it helps and all trainers give fair comments

    So, all i want for Xmas from Goldcircle is to dump the upside Racecard… please ! It wont be seen as Operator weakness to revert back …. ASB

  15. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey….Cecil it doesn’t suit them to reinstate the OLD FORMAT back…one just needs to backtrack to see exactly how many carryover’s KZN are responsible for in the last 8 month’s then compare,, then again why should they worry about it if nobody can purchase a book,,it’s hard to believe that Computaform is still not on shelves

  16. Jay August says:

    Oh dear Frankie, there you go again with the accusation that I must be captured and a mercenary for some or other entity. This is the barest emotion to use when debating any issue and so symptomatic of those with the least ability to be persuasive in arguing their case. Having failed to advance any facts you simply wish to discredit me.

    But, you highlight once again that there is, at least for some, a 3 by 5 card of allowable opinion in SA racing and which one may not dare transgress. This restricts one to the following:

    1 – must hate MR system irrespective of contrary evidence.
    2 – must call for a return to the RF system and use the flimsiest evidence available to advance it.
    3 – must hate the NHA.

    My question for you is, do you speak for the 96%?

    In any case at some point I may just answer the question in some detail which you should have asked and which definitely requires a detailed answer – “If 96% of trainers (and owners?) wish for a return to the RF system why are we still saddled with the MR system?”

  17. Jay August says:

    Graham, let me correct a reference of yours. There are no Powers in programming. The Programmer originates and suggests a program and trainers and owners have input and can make suggestions as well. The latter ultimately validate any programme by nominating horses.

    Anyone who observes this process at length will notice that trainers almost always over nominate in MR Handicap races and under nominate in non-Maiden and Juvenile Plate races. If Asgar, Frankie and yourself were correct this would not be so, unless trainers are being forced to nominate in MR Handicaps. I challenge you to provide SP with evidence that such coercion is taking place.

    Any rational trainer (the 96% Frankie refers to) would if they believed that the MR system needed replacing over nominate in Plate races and under nominate in MR Handicaps, and so force the hand of the programmer who would in response have to design and programme more of these type of races and less MR Handicaps. The outcome of that continual pressure would shift the programme towards one dominated by Plate type races, and resembling in substance the RF races of pre-99.

    The power to shape the programme has always been in the hands of trainers (and owners). It is time the fallacious argument that “the handicappers” (or Powers) coerce or force MR handicapping on an unwilling trainer and owner base is exposed for the lie it is. The only real impediment to agreement on a programme shift away from MR handicaps to Plate-type racing is a lasting consensus amongst trainers and owners.

    Last season 16 trainers had 100 or more unique starters and they contributed 34% of all starters in races while winning 45% of total stakes. The balance of power in daily programming lies very much with the small to medium size trainer as they control the majority of starters in races. If they as Frankie alleges are unhappy with the MR system then I suggest they find their voice and change the programme to best suit their needs.

    This does not however involve storming the “white house”. Rather it involves exerting an influence commensurate with their number at the programming meeting with the operator. Rational people do not propose radical ideas to solve simple problems.

  18. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Cecil I hope your xmas wish is granted.
    And well done to Hilton for achieving the almost impossible.
    The implementation of any rule that assist the betting public is welcomed.

  19. M(artin)Gram(atica) says:

    Jay you clearly have a lot of time on your hands. You do come across as a defender of the NHA and that surprises me due to the overwhelming evidence around their inability to govern the sport effectively and also transparently. For the sake of bona fides, could you confirm that you are not employed by the NHA nor have you ever been? Thank you.

  20. Jay August says:

    MGram, If you wish to establish my connection to the NHA then the latest annual report should suffice as my involvement is plainly stated for the last financial year. And no I am not employed by the NHA and never have been. I do however do work for them on an ad hoc basis as and when requested but that constitutes no formal employment and no formal commitment.

    That work does not involve waving a flag for the NHA and my comments are my own, are not vetted by the NHA and remain my own no matter what involvement I may have had or may have in future with the NHA. Having a connection with the NHA may be seen as sacrilegious by you but that only serves to highlight how dangerously tribalistic SA racing has become.

    If you wish to dismiss my arguments not on their correctness but by a connection I may or may not have with the NHA then I submit to you that you have a closed mind, are clearly partial and are guilty of exactly what you appear to want to accuse me of.

    Now let me ask you the same question. What is your connection with those that oppose the NHA and would seek to have it replaced by some other body at best, or watered down with a compliant board and executive at worst?

  21. Graham Martin says:

    Jay, my initial gripe was not with changing from MR handicaps to Plate races. If the owners and trainers want MR handicaps well ja no fine, so be it but my argument is in fact the way that the MR handicap system is implemented. When the MR system first replaced the RF it was fine, no problem, but once Germiston and then Newmarket race courses were closed the flood gates opened and here we are, I still maintain that the way in which the MR system of handicapping is implemented now has reduced horse racing to a lottery! It’s nothing but a guessing game! The recent Gold Cup is a prime example of this! If a horse wins a MR handicap today how many times must this same horse run unplaced before he can win again? Is this consistency?, is it form? Pick up a race card and what do you see? Do you see any form? no! I repeat, the MR system of handicapping has reduced horse racing to a LOTTERY! i REST MY CASE!

  22. Asgar Essack says:

    No Wonder……Undercover Agent.
    Coincidentally Undercover Agent is running in the Princess Magaret Cup at Mauritius today.
    If Merit Ratings had anything to do with it .
    He would be carrying 100 kilos.
    Fortunately he is thrown in at the weights
    And the stakes is not bad
    It is a small but exciting field and I am sure Undercover Agent will not let his supporters down.
    Banker in all bets.
    All our best horses are going overseas while we are smothered with MR 58 Fillies and Mares Handicaps even on weekends.
    It seems S. African racing has become strictly a Nursery for two year old horses.
    Owners who spend millions can only enjoy one season of racing .
    Owners who have the means can send their stars overseas.while others are forced to sell their horses to Mauritian and other owners because of the limited opportunities in S. Africa.
    Well,it’s tough luck for those who feel I am spitting out nonsense because the fact of the matter is…. It is what it is.
    And Jay please! don’t suggest that owners and trainers are free to give their opinions.
    Their horses will be victimised.
    Even if you feel my arguments and suggestions are illogical.
    There are thousands out there who support my views.
    Just as you are a staunch supporter of the MR System.
    I am and always will be a major critic of this unfair,unjust and cruel imported system that has turned our racing upside down.

  23. Jay August says:

    Graham, in the great scheme of SA racing facts are the always the first victim. The NHA rule book specifically states that handicaps are created in order to equalise the chances of all competitors and that merit ratings are the means by which handicaps must be weighted. This is no mystery as a handicap has no other meaning to me than that, with the proviso that the method of establishing the handicap can be some other metric i.e. a race figure.

    The rule book does not dictate to the operator that they must use MR handicaps in their race programme. The operators have decided that of their own free will. They can and may chose to exclude all MR handicaps if they so wish. The operator is therefore the entity solely responsible for the programming of MR handicaps.

    The stats for MR handicaps in season 2019/20 show that they are not a lottery at all although to the untrained eye that is what they may appear. The top3 in MR handicaps won 44% more races than those outside the top3 when adjusted for expectation. Put another way the strike rate for the top3 MRs in an MR handicap was 12.66% against 8.04% for those outside the top3.

    The edge in predicting winners from the top3 MRs versus all others is meaningful. The fact that the edge evaporates when adjusted for odds shows that the crowd is not stupid, and neither are the bookmakers. As a punter you are not wagering against the operator, the MR system, or any other entity. You are wagering against the weight of opinion of other punters and the takeout of the tote and bookmaker. Your beef is wrongly dressed up as an MR issue when it is nothing of the sort. The MR system has simply become the sacrificial lamb for all that ails SA racing.

    But, all this is of no consequence from next year. Let us see what the new kids in town present for the amusement of the punting public. Perhaps you will get your way and we will return to the RF system or perhaps some other contrivance. Personally I have no issue with whatever system they chose. I am no defender of the MR system, merely a counter to the patently bad arguments levelled at it.

  24. Graham Martin says:

    well said Asgar, I agree with your view on the MR SYSTEM and so say all of us!

  25. Asgar Essack says:

    Before I forget.
    Let me throw out another mouthful of vomit against this horrendous MR System.
    Race 1 at Turfontein
    Thumbs Up a maiden was rated 93
    But battled to dead heat with an unraced zero rated horse.
    Surely this has to be another nail in the coffin of the “Beloved” MR System.

  26. Jay August says:

    Going through the fields and races for Sunday’s meet I notice that a Graduation Plate is carded as race 2 and is excluded from the P6.

    Nobody will ask why a Maiden Plate or MR Handicap has been included while the one non-Maiden Plate race has been excluded.

    But come Monday after a carryover they will bemoan the fact that the MR system has destroyed racing by making it a lottery.

  27. Tony Mincione says:

    @A.Essack: “S. African racing has become strictly a Nursery for two year old horses.”

    Not yet, but soon possibly.

    I bred horses for about 15 years. During that time I was extremely aware that we don’t really have a “normal market” where the buyers outnumber the sellers. When I first started selling I noticed immediatey that on a 200 horse sale, the top buyers bought up to 10 or 12 lots each and then it trickled down to singles.

    I realised there were about 30 or 40 buyers essentially, and like form studiers they came to a similar conclusion as to what should run. So buyers competed hard for (the top) 10-20% and so on, and the bottom half was left to hope and deals.

    Luckily, some horses defy the stats (or don’t know how much they cost :D).

    I had commented somewhere that if/when exports “open” the danger SA faces could be similar to what happened to NZ. But in a post-covid world, things may well be different. Possibly we will mainly lose our top horses to get Mr Essack’s “nursery” effect.

    The main immediate impact on racing is that 30 or 40 good horses leaving will hurt showcase races, and top yearlings leaving will seperate local bloodstock into (home vs international) stock.

    There is nothing to be done but accept it if/when it comes. It would be nice if those that profit don’t crow as much at our public loss.

    A good side effect might be that money can be made by picking well and selling overseas and taking the burden off the punter to lose all the money they curretly must to fund stakes etc. Maybe then the take-out theft can start to be wound down.

    In the business recovery research, it was interesting to find an article that reported that when Betfred ended their 7 year UK tote licence, the new guys cranked the take-out up (16% to 19%) and the vig went up 20%. A lesson for when you allow monopolies by licence.

  28. Harold Narainsamy says:

    I don’t wish to quote examples of horses whose careers have been stifled by the merit rating system but I certainly miss the days you can spot a talented runner and follow its progress through the divisions. A handicappers job is to ensure a close finish and not to stop a good horse from winning. The MR rating should only be implemented in A and B division races. Below that every horse should only be penalized for wins and not places.

  29. Graham Martin says:

    Jay, I hope and pray that what you say is true and change DOES take place! I do believe that it’s imperative for horse racing in this country! I will never stop celebrating if it happens! At least then we can use Collateral form again instead of guessing!

  30. Asgar Essack says:

    Well, Jay we were quiet happy and applaud the authorities for finally seeing the light.
    Saturday they gave us two Graduation Plates one for colts and one for fillies.
    All three Graduation Plates were exciting affairs.
    Turfontein included both in the Pick Six..
    I am sure Natal will come on board as well.
    Once the owners and trainers get used to these races the size of the fields will increase.
    Owners are happy because some of their horses are now two and three time winners.
    Finally the tables are starting to turn and that is fantastic for the game.
    Since all horses have the opportunity to win atleast three races how can anybody complain.

  31. hilton witz says:

    Asgar essack why have only 7 horses accepted to run in the graduation plates at the vaal tomorow? Where are all these thousands of owners you know top horses ?The operators put these races on and all these trainers you know that dont want to be victimized dont run their top horses in plate races where the conditions of the races suit their top horses …Maybe asgar essack before you write your next essay of absolute garbage consider that the majority of horse populations world wide are average to mediocre therefore they dont run in plate races and rather handicaps where every horse in theory is given an equal chance of winning …Every owner would love to own a winks or frankel but they represent half a percent of any horse population but dont cater for all horses however mediocre they are and these owners wont continue buying horses in the hope of finally getting their champion…Not every horse can be a top horse so what must we do just cull them ?

  32. Jay August says:

    Tomorrow there is a meeting with no MR Handicaps and one planned for Saturday at Durbanville as well. Perhaps you gentleman should be congratulating the programmers as this is what you have been asking for.

    It shows that there is no absolute requirement to programme MR handicaps and there never has been any coercion to do so. That fallacy is hopefully now laid to rest.

  33. Graham Martin says:

    Harold I agree with you up to a point. Horses should be penalized for winning a race but NOT for running a place , whether it be A or B division!

  34. Graham Martin says:

    P.S. And the penalty should be based on 1kg = 1 length, that is what horse racing is supposed to be about, WEIGHT difference!

  35. Asgar Essack says:

    Hilton witz if you read my article properly
    You would have noticed that I did applaud the authorities for re_introducing the Graduation Plate Races.
    It seems like you hate watching exciting races.
    I also mentioned that trainers who did not expect the resumption of these type of races will see the benefits and enter their horses in large numbers.
    By the way I see no reason why you are still raving about a failed imported system
    that has not benefitted our racing at all.
    Even in England racing is in the doldrums.
    because of this terrible system that you continue to defend.
    All the owners have run away.Most races are contested by four or five runners but you don’t have a problem with that.
    Minus the Arab Sheiks and the game will.be over in England.
    We will not allow this despicable system to completely wreck our racing as well.
    Many are seeing the light and if you choose to live in darkness then that is entirely your prerogative
    Slow but sure you will watch the demise of your beloved MR Handicapping System.
    Other posters have also given examples of the unfairness of the system.
    You failed miserably to give a descent response.
    All uou can say to me that I am talking nonsense.
    My essays may be long but they are full of merit.
    Garbage is your MR 58 Handicap races which is thrown at us on a daily basis.

  36. Jay August says:

    Graham, you redeem yourself one minute and then drag yourself down the next. Where do you get 1kg = 1 length from as a reliable penalty? This is not how the RF system worked at all ands you are now introducing something similar to the MR system.

    Let me throw this one out into the ether and get some feedback from the commentariat – why does a winner get 60% of the allocated prize when defeating another horse by a nose, the loser claiming just 20% or a third of the money for that nose defeat. The same prize money allocation would be made if the winner won by 20 lengths.

    Is that fair?

  37. Graham Martin says:

    Sorry Jay, I did’nt mean that 1kg= 1 length should be the penalty but that 1kg in weight is equal to 1 horse lenght (theoretically anyway) and this should be the very first criteria to be considered when handicapping. (in my opinion) This worked out very well during the RF SYSTEM! Now, have I redeemed myself once again?

  38. Steve Reid says:

    So here’s a question for all those MR fundi’s out there. On Saturday in the first race at Turffontein, Thumbs Up rated 93 dead heated with the first timer Puerto Manzano receiving 2,5kg. Upon rating this race, the handicappers in their wisdom declared Thumbs Up the line horse. I agree with their selection of the filly as she has an established rating and has run against some of the best of her generation. Her previous start was in the Gr.2 Debutante on Gold Cup Day. She received a 7 pound rating hike for running 4th to Ecstatic Green. That’s about as solid a form line as one could wish to bring to the track and its no surprise that she started deep in the red at 7/20. Here are my questions and I would appreciate some logical answers, I am too stupid to work these out myself.

    1. Thumbs Up as the line horse had her MR dropped to 90. How can a horse who has ( according to the handicapper anyway ) run 3 pounds below her rating be made the line horse?
    2. How can Puerto Manzano be rated a 92 when he carried 2,5kg more than the filly? Why was this horse not rated a 95?
    3. Why are some juveniles given the full penalty – World Radar is an obvious example – and these two horses seem to have escaped the wrath of the handicapper? Is this due to the handicapper now doubting the accuracy of the 2yo crop ratings? Or is it perhaps the fact that some owners are treated differently than others?

    I look forward to logical answers to my observations.

  39. Tony Mincione says:

    Damn, despite trying to ignore specific MR examples, the Puerto Manzano case is just too much.

    And now I’m agreeing with Steve Reid, strewth! I agree with Steve on the facts (not so much the wrath).

    To add to his points:

    The two other horses in the race who had ratings are
    -Pluviophile (71) dropped 5 points to (66) and
    -Freezing Fast (61) dropped 2 points to (59).

    If you use them as a line then Thumbs Up (93) is either 101 or 97.

    If you take the new ratings, Thumbs Up is about 95.

    Now they drop Thumbs Up, make her the line horse, drop the other two to a level that puts Thumbs Up “UP”, and then discount the actual 2.5kgs that is all, and exactly, the difference between two horses who dead-heat?

    This is hard enough when you don’t have hard evidence, and so when you do, and then you change everything at once in different directions, you just discredit yourself utterly, and cast doubt on everything else.

    You cannot have it every-which-way!

    I too look forward to an explanation. I hope it’s solid.

  40. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Steve I am also waiting anxiously for a response from the Founding Fathers of the
    MR System.
    You have put forward a few logical questions
    Can’t wait to hear the response.

  41. Jay August says:

    Steve poses valid questions if one ignores the innuendo about favouring certain owners. Using the ratings which the competitors in this race carried into the race one can only make up a rating of 95, 98 or 100 for Puerto Manzano. The only question that one need ask is whether you use the 5th or 6th horses as lines given their more established, although widely variable, form lines, or whether you use Thumbs Up as the line. To the lay handicapper these appear the only obvious choices.

    But herein lies the conundrum that is handicapping. This race presents very few established form lines, and the one 3yo with an established form line had yet to win a race although having run well in two Pattern races she obtained a large increment for a 4th place at her last start. Whatever line the handicappers used in this case it is not obvious to a lay observer and as such appears wrong and out of line with other similar cases. Even if that is not so the optics on this just do not pass inspection by a casual observer.

    I have pointed out before that having to reach handicapping decisions in a few hours on a Monday (or next) morning does not add to consistency (or auditing) of handicapping and opens up handicappers to much criticism. This rating should have had a cooling off period of at least another 24 hours before finalising.

    In this case the now defunct Assessment Plates may have served a purpose to validate what the handicappers thought they had at first seen but which was not visible to others. Although in essence I was not a supporter of the manner of operation of the Assessment Plates, such assessment could easily be had today were the handicappers allowed the discretion that the UK handicappers have. That of asking the connections of a first or second time winner to run next in a Plate or Conditions race in order to finalise their ratings, with the proviso that if waived the winner is rated at the maximum under the visible lines i.e. 100 in this case.

    Steve’s secondary point that two-year-old ratings may be too high is a more complex one, wrapped up with the complication of the WFA scale and the correct level at which to incorporate Juvenile ratings into the general population.That would require an entire article to unpack, which leads me back to a point made in early July.

    Is the MR system just too complex with too little time to process difficult decisions, and do we need something more simple? Or does the program need to adjust to allow for validation of ratings for younger horses – not Assessment Plates in their guise of last year, but in some other manner which allows for incremental assessment rather than the big leaps that MR handicapping must necessitate in order to retain its integrity?

    Whatever the solution, the answer is not the reductive and redundant tinkering of prior years where we fiddle with the mechanics of the MR system or attempt to contrive races or ratings which are not sustainable in the long run. Those that would go down this route again should be kept well away from racing and handicapping!

    PS – apologies to Mgram for taking so much time to write this up and appearing to have connections to the dark side.

  42. Steve Reid says:

    Jay and Tony thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment.

    Jay any system that has intricate workings, and more importantly, can be abused by the handicappers, is clearly not the answer. Let me ask a hypothetical question – what chances would Thumbs Up have had should the connections challenged her rating after the Debutante run?

    Whilst you attempt to provide an answer on the line horse, I note that there is no attempt to qualify why a 5 pound disadvantage has equated to a 2 pound difference in rating after Saturdays race. There can be no explanation for this besides an executive decision that rides roughshod over all the handicapping principles. This arrogance is what gets my goat and should never be allowed. If I were a trainer I would appeal the rating given to both horses as the bottom line is you could be meeting Puerto Monzano on a 6 to 8 pound disadvantage should your charge be in the same race as he.next time out,

    I may have been flippant in my question as to whether a sitting board member of the NHA receives preference but that carries far more weight than anything else I have seen so far, I still await the high and mighty Lennon to answer my Golden Bloom questions. I expect the same treatment now. Clearly this lot believe that infallibility goes along with their decisions. Even at half price people should be answerable to their constituency.

  43. Tony Mincione says:

    @J August
    1. “This race presents very few established form lines”
    There are two runners with very established MR’s, which is much more than we often get. And a dead-heat, which is a bonus because it doesn’t get clearer than that.

    2. ” having to reach handicapping decisions in a few hours on a Monday (or next) morning does not add to consistency”
    I disagree. Before the race you have a 3yo filly raed 93, 2x battling 4yo geldings, so any “lay” handicapper, unlike the experts, would know in a glance this could be fun.

    When you get a dead heat with the colt (giving the filly the claswsic 2.5kgs sex allowance), and the 2 “established” horses running a heaven sent 9L and 11L behind in the correct order, even a non-handicapper, lay or otherwise, knows waiting for the official reponse is gonig to be exciting.

    2 minutes after the race, anyone would already have an idea. You can’t be serious that a full time proffessional on Monday, two days after, still needs time to smoke a pipe.

    Then they tamper with a pound here and a pound there.

    3. “Is the MR system just too complex with too little time to process difficult decisions,”
    No. Just do the work without fear or favour. And be consistent. No one should ask for more.

    You seem to have missed the point. It’s a disasterous outcome, full of holes, riddled with inconsistencies which break with precedent from the past, and sets them up for failure and loss of credibility in the future. That’s the point.

    Given your past posts, I was hoping you would do something (which they should have), which is plant your flag somewhere. They wriggled out of ALL of the 3 possible calls they could have, or maybe SHOULD have made.

    Of course it’s a hard race, but do we just want them to get the easy one’s right?

    I feel sad that we can all spot a race that “they” will stuff up, and then watch the slow motion accident as it proceeds to happen. It’s a people failure, and a PR failure, and not the failure of the tools.

    There are many people who don’t or can’t comment, so there is just us squeaky wheels, or keyboard wrriors or in this case, lay handicappers, to try and put up the case for the people.

  44. stevereid67 says:

    My apologies, my age is creeping up on me. In a previous comment I mentioned the ignoring of what I believe were, and still are, valid observations on the horse Golden Bloom. This should obviously read Golden Belle,

  45. Jonathan Harris says:

    I have not studied the race and outcome in question, but I have a question. And I believe the correct answer could answer many other issues we have with the current implementation of the M.R. system.
    Why is a horse AUTOMATICALLY given a raise in its rating for winning a race? Nothing else is taken into consideration when doing so. Many horses do not necessarily improve when winning a race but could also run below their rating when winning a race. Was this rule added to appease the opponents of the system. Just asking.

  46. stevereid67 says:

    @Jonathan Harris my reading of the MR system is that the winner does not automatically get an upward adjustment, and adjustments are reliant on the choosing of the line horse/s and the relevant performance of horses in relation to that line horse/s. What I will say is that the line horse rating should never be dropped from its original rating to accommodate some theory the handicapper has. My read on this race as stated is the line horse chosen was correct ( MR93 ) and the joint dead heater then gets the 93 PLUS 5 = 98. The 5 additional points being the 2,5kg difference in weights with the filly. Absolutely basic handicapping principals. As Mr Mincione states – you cant have it both ways.

  47. Jay August says:

    Tony, obviously you have rated a population of horses over time, stood the scrutiny of many and used your expert judgement in the process to deflect all manner of criticism, unlike myself. You obviously then know how simple it all is and how easy it is to take form lines and figure from there.

    The question then arises why even have people in the loop. Why not simply outsource the number crunching to a machine? That is after all what you are implying – that is is that simple and that intuitive that it can be done in an instant, even the hard races as you somewhat counter intuitively state.

    I am also not sure why and where you want me to plant a flag but in case you need that comfort I would have gone with the most obvious rating – 98 or 5 points above the 93. I have little idea why me making this statement would help but there it is. Have I done wiggling now? Are you satisfied or did I miss the complexity of your simple admonishment? More importantly, are the “people” satisfied?

    PS – this constant reference to “the people” by yourself and Asgar reminds me somewhat of a vagrant outside an Austrian opera house plotting to rule the world someday. Struggle on!

  48. Jay August says:

    Steve, I have no opinion on whether an appeal would have been successful. Should I have such an opinion?

  49. Jonathan Harris says:

    @Steve Thats my reading of the M.R. system too. However I read or heard comments that winners automatically get an upward adjustment. Can anyone shed some light on this? Ed?

  50. Asgar Essack says:

    Jay,Jay Jay, nobody wants to rule the world
    Since you are the official mouthpiece
    Of the handicapping division.
    On your own accord you decided to defend the boo,boo that the handicappers caused
    Why do owners and trainers always have to appeal a rating allocated by these incompetent handicappers
    Please Jay, I know you hate the R F system
    And the current M R System is under sufference..
    Why dont you spearhead a new system that can incorporate the new and the old system.
    Perhaps then we would not have all these problems.
    Seems as though the organisation needs you full time and not just on a ad hoc basis.

  51. Jonathan Harris says:

    Amazing results for top M.R rated horses yesterday at the Vaal! In 7 of 8 Plate races all except 1 won or ran in 1st 3 together with other top rated horses. First time I won something in ages. Now is this making a case for the M.R. system or a case for carding Plate races? Long make BOTH continue…ALUTA CONTINUA!!

  52. Tony Mincione says:

    1. If it’s so easy, you ask, why would we even need people involved with this, why not just a program?

    Shit, that’s a good question!

    I think that the easy races are mostly a matter of a best fit, based on previous ratings, and expectations, as adjusted by rules and exceptions.  So a line horse, or several lines, and then filing off the rough edges.

    But, you do need people in our system because we build up what we do, on the shoulders of what we have done each successive iteration. Then there are many exceptions that are obvious to humans and (at first) impossible for programs.  For example, understanding pace, or horses that get away, or horses that stumble or are intimidated, or track specific or going wide etc etc, and then any combinations of reality.  We could figure it out in a glance, and a program would get lost (again, for now).

    2.You ask why would I look for you to “plant your flag”,.

    -Well, because the question was started by Steve Reid when the NHRA looks to have purposely dodged the “hard” question, not taken any stand, and come up witha set of numbers, NONE of which are stand-up, ALL of which look like a cop out.

    In this case I agreed with him, so I guess “we” were looking for support from anyone happy to give the time and trouble.  I would imagine we were both waiting for you.  I was a bit disappointed because few in racing with any credibility seem able to say “shit job, mate!”.

    3. My “we, the people” (meaning the rules are supposed to be by us and for us, not against us).  It is a reference to the “us” and “them” that is the de facto view in SA racing.  Everything wrong is done by “them”, and presumably “we” would have done it all better.  

    In PE, that lunatic referred to “them” and “they” continually for a week, roping “us” onto his wagon whether “we” liked it or not.  I hope “they” do well over there over the seas.

    4. Unasked:  I like that you don’t make assumptions, that you use facts like steps.  I appreciate the effort in your posts.  

    Above, you essentially said it’s not easy in a short time, the bottom line is just implying that it’s not right but it’s not their fault.

    What makes it “easy ” is that we didn’t have to come up with the 93 for Thumbs Up or have to justify it.  The ratings are supplied to the owners of the horses, and we just argue the case on THEIR ratings just for the last few yards.  

    You might agree that it’s hard to come up with the right answer sometimes, but the wrong answer is like a boil.


  53. Shanil Singh says:

    Plated races will gain larger win pools . Not too much complicating form study. Punters want to bet on the nose and take doubles trebles like we used to with confidence. The thrill if sering a 4 to 10 favourite winning in a canter is what attracts punters to the game.

  54. Asgar Essack says:

    Well said Shanil, if more punters make positive statements like yours I am sure we will be served with exciting Plate races.
    Thumbs Up.

  55. Steve Reid says:

    Great run from the 116 Golden Belle. Make it the line horse and Anythibg Goes can get a 129.

    Laugh a minute and still deathly silence from the peanut gallery.

  56. @Steven Reid….”Great run from the 116 Golden Belle. Make it the line horse and Anythibg Goes can get a 129.” Do explain your calculations Sir.

  57. Pieta Louw. says:

    Steve, looking at the previous correspondence …and most agree….someone needs to make the change…who?……gooi jou insites….but we need to put their names on the table……GOOI….

  58. Steve Reid says:

    @Jonathan clearly my dripping in sarcasm comment shouldnt be taken seriously. Something similar to the handicappers who choose when rules will be bent and when they wont. They also dont have the courage to explain their ratings when challenged. Infallible in their own opinion. Golden Belle in particular irks me. Go have a look where she got her 116 and do some work and see why I say that was clearly an incorreçt.rating. Time is proving me correct. I’m still waiting for the explanation that 2.5 kg = 2 points. Cannot be explained and thise in power think they dont have to. Amateur hour.

  59. Jonathan Harris says:

    @Steve Reid. Thought as much. Just wasn’t sure. lol.

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