The NHA Handicappers have reported on the final feature weekend of the 2020/21 season’s merit ratings assessments.
- Gr1 Mercury Sprint (WFA)
PEARL OF ASIA has had his merit rating raised from 107 to 121 after he put up the performance of his life to win the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint on WFA terms over 1200m on the Greyville turf course on Saturday 31 July.
The Handicappers were of the unanimous view that 3rd finisher MK’S PRIDE made for the best line horse here, which leaves him unchanged on a rating of 120.
2nd placed AL SAKEET has had his rating raised from 106 to 120, while 4th finisher ULTRA MAGNUS confirmed his previous best of 120 and has been adjusted accordingly. The only other increase was for BATTLE FORCE, who goes up from 113 to 114.
There were ratings drops for two horses. TRUE TO LIFE is down from 119 to 118, while CHIMICHURI RUN drops from 125 to 123.
- HKJC World Pool Gr1 Champions Cup (WFA)
JET DARK remains unchanged after confirming his Queens Plate assessment of 130 following his success in the Grade 1 HKJC World Pool Champions Cup on WFA terms over 1800m at Greyville on Saturday.
This victory by JET DARK dispels the view held by most that horses should be rated in terms of their overall body of work rather than their performances.
A horse that produces a similar performance when repeatedly winning Grade 1 races, for instance, may not necessarily have more ability than a horse that has won one Grade 1 race in fewer attempts.
Multiple Grade 1 winners are generally rated higher but this is not the de facto guiding principle of MR handicapping and it seems to be missed by some that the MR system is a measure of performance and not an accumulation of wins system.
The Handicappers were of the view that both JET DARK and 4th placed GOT THE GREENLIGHT made for the best line horses, which means that the latter also remains unaltered on a mark of 126.
Runner-up CATCH TWENTY TWO has had his rating raised from 126 to 129, while the only other increase was for 5th placed TRISTFUL, who is up 113 to 117. This at least makes him the equal of 7th finisher CROWN TOWERS. No horses were given a rating’s drop from this race.
- Kuda Gr2 Gold Bracelet
SHE’S A KEEPER has had her rating raised from 104 to 116 after she ran out a very easy winner of the Grade 2 Kuda Gold Bracelet for fillies and mares over 2000m at Greyville on Saturday. It was runner-up VICTORIA PAIGE who was deemed to make for the best line horse here, which leaves her unchanged on a mark of 104.
Aside from the winner, the only other raise was for 3rd placed CATCHAFALLINGSTAR, who actually achieved a figure of 101 is up from 90 to previous best of 97. There were ratings drops for four horses. RUNNING BRAVE is down from 119 to 115, SENTBYDESTINY drops to 109 from 111, HEART STWINGS drops from 101 to 99, and lastly JASMINE is down from 98 to 91.
- Marshalls World Of Sport Gr3 Gold Cup
NEBRAAS has had his rating increased from 95 to 103 after he fought on gamely to land the Grade 3 Marshalls World Of Sport Gold Cup over 3200m at Greyville on Saturday. 2nd placed SILVER HOST and 3rd finisher OUT OF YOUR LEAGUE were both used as line horses here, which leaves them unchanged on ratings of 112 and 108, respectively.
4th placed BEFORE NOON goes up from 82 to 91 to make him one pound higher than 5th finisher WEALTHY, who carried half-a-kilo overweight and who accordingly goes up from 89 to 90. The Handicappers however chose to take a very conservative view with both of these horses, because BEFORE NOON in fact achieves a mark of 98 and WEALTHY actually runs to 97 given the way the race was rated. It was considered that due to the unique weight structure of the Gold Cup which is a compressed handicap (3 MR points is treated as a 1kg differential as opposed to the standard 2 MR points to 1kg differential in weight) and given their overall profiles both WEALTHY and BEFORE NOON be treated with caution, however their relativity should be maintained especially as BEFORE NOON has beaten WEALTHY in his last two starts.
There were no other increases, but four horses were given a rating’s drop. SUNSHINE SILK was trimmed from 97 to 96, DREAM FANTASY was dropped from 98 to 93, DOUBLEMINT drops from 116 to 114, and lastly the 2020 Gold Cup winner PATHS OF VICTORY was cut from 100 to 98.
- Marshalls World Of Sport Listed Darley Arabian
CAT DADDY has had his rating raised from 97 to 99 after he won the Listed Darley Arabian (handicap) over 1600m on the Greyville Polytrack on Saturday. Runner-up NATIVE TONGUE and 3rd placed PINKERTON were both used as line horses here, leaving them unaltered on marks of 106 and 104, respectively.
4th placed INDLAMU was raised slightly from 98 to 99 as although he was one kg or two pounds under sufferance at the weights he did finish one pound behind the line horses. No other horses received a rating’s increase, but there were drops for four runners. WILD COAST was cut from 108 to 106, G G’S DYNASTY was trimmed from 106 to 105, WONDERWALL drops to 100 from 102, and lastly LEGITIMATE drops from 101 to 97.
- Marshalls World Of Sport Listed Umngeni Handicap
PRAY FOR RAIN has had his rating raised from 106 to 112 after he ran out an easy winner of the Listed Marshalls World Of Sport Umngeni Handicap over 1000m at Greyville (Polytrack) on Saturday. Here it was the 3rd placed dead-heaters LOVE BOMB and KEEP THE LIGHTS ON who were considered to make for the best line horses, leaving them unchanged on 108 and 99, respectively.
The only other ratings increase was for runner-up SPYDAS CORNER, who was raised from 98 to 100. There were however ratings drops for four horses. CAPTAIN OUPIE is down from 100 to 99, GOOD RHYTHM was cut from 101 to 100, TRACES is down to 103 from 105, and lastly FILIPPO was dropped from 101 to 100.
- Listed Memorial Mile
MARMARA SEA remains unchanged on a mark of 110 after he won the Listed Memorial Mile over 1600m on the turf course at Fairview on Friday 30 July. Here it was 2nd placed Majestic MOZART who was used as the line horse to his current rating of 104, having had his rating dropped from 105 subsequent to the publication of weights for this event. As such, his rating remains as the amended 104.
3rd placed CAPTAIN FLINDERS was raised from 100 to 103, while the only other raise was for 4th finisher FIRST STREET, who is up from 94 to 96. The only ratings drop was for SOMERSET MAUGHAM, who is down from 102 to 97.
- Media release by NHA on Tuesday 3 August 2021