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Asking For A Friend…Maiden To Get 115 Rating?

Who would want to be in Lennon's shoes?

You make your bed you sleep in it. The NHRA handicappers’ likely overrating of last season’s 2yo Graded form, particularly that of the KZN winter season, could provide them with a poser when they sit down to unravel the past weekend’s features.

I am glad that I am not in Lennon Maharaj’s shoes when an official rating is allocated to the runners in the 3yo features run on Saturday, writes Steve Reid in the Sporting Post Mailbag.


The Peermont Emperors Palace Ready to Run Cup is going to be the source of much debate, regardless of the inevitable spin that will undoubtedly follow to justify the adjustments.

The recent lowering of Thumbs Up rating when dead-heating with her stable companion, has exposed the handicappers as suffering from Dyscalculia – when the situation suits them.

That dead heat must be causing sleepless nights after the ridicule heaped on them for the inexplicable subsequent official ratings of the dead-heaters.

Enough has already been said about this – with absolutely no explanation provided publically from those who believe they have no mandate to anyone to explain their actions.

Let’s get back to Saturday’s Ready To Run Cup.

War Of Athena almost sneaks up on the rail to collar MK’s Pride (Pic – JC Photos)

In my very humble opinion, the obvious form horse is the runner up, War of Athena (WOA).

This very smart filly has solid form in all the races she has contested, the strongest being her second to Anything Goes in the Gr1 Thekweni Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville on WSB Gold Cup Day.

This form was franked in no uncertain terms by Anything Goes pulverising her open company opposition in the Joburg Spring Challenge in her subsequent start.

WOA’s form is also backed up by a close up third in the Gr1 Allan Robertson.

A wide draw could quite possibly have led to her short head defeat by MK’s Pride on Saturday.

MK’s Pride is clearly no slouch, and is well thought of by the Peter stable – so the win was no flash in the pan and the betting indicated that quite clearly, with the horse strongly supported.

The question that needs answering now is  – should WOA be chosen as the line horse?

Another angle on the RTR Cup – MK’s Pride moves ahead of War Of Athena (Pic – JC Photos)

The run of Afternoon Tea on Saturday points to this being a form run by WOA as the Fortune filly finishes 7 lengths behind (officially 6,95 lengths, so as close to dammit ), and is rated an exact 14 points inferior.

Happy days!

If WOA is accepted as the line horse, things start to get interesting in a very big way.

MK’s Pride beat the 111 rated WOA by a short head so could feasibly be raised to a 116.

Or even maybe a 113 if previous parameters are followed?

But the problem for the handicappers arises with the third horse, the unrated maiden Flying Carpet, who finished half a length behind the winner and carrying 2,5kg MORE than the 111 rated WOA.

Maths was something I excelled in at school, and simple arithmetics then dictates that this horse receives a 115 rating.

I will take poison that this will never happen – even though it is clear as daylight that this rating has been earned by the horse, using handicapping guidelines. If a maiden winner in PE can be rated 113 and then adjusted to a 105, then this can be a maiden 115 all day long.

Let’s talk some collateral facts.

There were four 3yo’s in this year’s delayed Vodacom Durban July. These horses officially turned 4 the following week due to the late running of the race.

Their ratings pre the July race were:

  • Got the Greenlight MR118 ( 3 x Gr1 winner)
  • Shango MR 116 ( Gr2 winner and multiple Graded places)
  • Golden Ducat  MR115 ( Gr1 winner and multiple Graded places)
  • Padre Pio MR 115 ( 2 X Graded placed)

So could we justifiably rate a maiden a 115 when we see what last season’s flag-bearers were rated?

Golden Ducat – top class 3yo of last term (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Let’s also just put something out there as a marker to the strength of Saturday’s Ready To Run race as these restricted races are often, and rightly so, seen as inferior quality fields.

The top three in the RTR ran faster times than the winners of both the Graham Beck and the Starling Stakes.

Time is merely an indicator. However it does indicate that this was a decent quality trio who appear to be way above average, something highlighted by the fourth horse being 6,5 lengths behind the maiden 3rd placed runner.

Is the problem the handicappers sit with, perhaps not that of overrating last season’s 2yo Graded form, particularly that of the KZN winter season? It seems blindingly clear to me.

I look forward to the fairy tales – they are always amusing.

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10 comments on “Asking For A Friend…Maiden To Get 115 Rating?

  1. Jon Tarbock says:

    The whole crop of 3 year olds are overated,I have my own rating system,and war of athena I have at 107 and anything goes 110,it is doubtful that war of athena ran up to her very best rating on saturday,she might have only run a 98,so the winner will be rated no more than 104p

  2. Kenny Masilela says:

    surely handicappers rate what they see, if the maiden deserves a 120 so be it.

  3. Graham Martin says:

    Steve, you always have been and always will be my hero! So true what you say!

  4. Jonathan Harris says:

    Hi Steve. Interesting and dare I say, entertaining article.
    Your logic and subsequent arithmetic cannot be faulted IF your assumptions are correct. May I challenge them?
    If I may, you assume WOA is the only logical choice for the “Line Horse”. I suggest the winner could also be considered based on line horse criteria. Now that would alter your scenario.
    Secondly, you assume WOA actually ran to her rating. She may not have from a 12 from 12 draw.
    Looking at the times recorded on the day in the 3 feature races over this distance, ( I did not do sectional timing), I calculated that the winners and runners-up could theoretically have finished within a length or 2 of each other, which could strengthen the argument for WOA running way below her current rating.
    And if , and that’s an IF I am correct, then the horse Flying carpet could be rated around 103-105.
    Let’s see.

  5. gophne says:

    Why must horses be “punished” for trying to compete. Too often good horses “don’t come to the party”/don’t run to form/ability when racing against high MR horses, to the detriment of the punter. -G.Nefdt

  6. Asgar Essack says:

    Poor Flying Carpet will need an absolute
    Miracle to win a handicap at that rating.
    Surely he has to run about a thousand unplaced runs to get that rating down..
    Fortunately he will still be able to win a maiden plate in his life time and then the
    curtain falls in his career..
    This is one of the reasons why I continue
    to harp about Graduation and Novice Plate races, so that every horse would be given
    a fair opportunity to win atleast two or three races in their life time.
    Well, Steve Reid if ever there was a debate
    About the Merit Rating System than
    Surely you are leading by the proverbial
    Country mile.
    Keep going brother our money is on you.

  7. Steve Reid says:

    Dear Jonathan

    You say the following: ” you assume WOA is the only logical choice for the “Line Horse” when in fact I say “In my very humble opinion, the obvious form horse is the runner up, War of Athena (WOA).” Now lets see what the NHA’s Handicapping guideline defines a line horse as : Line horse – A horse whose ability is known and generally performs to a consistent level. Please find me a more consistent horse than WOA in that race seeing her form in her previous 5 runs reads 3rd, 1st, 2nd. 1st and 2nd. Two of her defeats came at the hands of Anything Goes. All her defeats were by less than a length and she clearly fits the definition. Your point as to whether she runs to form from the draw is speculative at best, particularly observing her time in relation to the other Graded races, but once again all I say is in my opinion its mute. A stride later she wins the race and then do we debate this?

    The handicappers have done their work and have chosen the filly Miss Elegance as the line horse. I personally think that someone is on crack in that department. Compare Miss Elegance form to WOA and explain how this could ever be chosen. A horse that finishes 10 lengths behind and then to add insult to injury, they once again drop the rating of the so called consistent horse in the race. I have said enough about the handicappers and their inconsistencies. The sums do not add up.

  8. Jonathan Harris says:

    Fully understand you Steve.

  9. John Mynhardt says:

    When do we see the weights for SummerCup and new log ?

  10. Asgar Essack says:

    Hi Steve, I am lost for words..It doesnt make sense, but these guys performed
    a Harry Houdini to get out of this one,
    However Steve you always have them in a corner so much so that they go against their own rules and regulations.
    One of these days they will trap themselves so badly that they will find no room to escape.

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