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Jet Dark Remains On 130

The MR system is a measure of performance

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.

Pearl Of Asia (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

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.

Jet Dark (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

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

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12 comments on “Jet Dark Remains On 130

  1. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Suitably chastised in the bold print frame ” THIS VICTORY BY JET DARK ………………….. ”

    I strongly questioned this high merit rating of Jet Dark in the S.P. and have been proved incorrect in that questioning in no uncertain terms so give due credit to all who advised that the Queens Plate is the ” holy grail ” of South African horse racing and to the NHA handicappers who correctly determined that 130 M.R. for Jet Dark.

    I take my place in the corner of the room wearing my dunces cap and have completed 100 lines reading ” I must never comment on M.R. s as I have no clue about them “

  2. Graham Martin says:

    I have been trying to keep my mouth shut but to no avail. I hope that S.P. posts this comment.
    I see the so called handicappers have been blowing their trumpet about getting one in a hundred right (Jet Dark) yes I erred when stating that Jet Dark was’nt a 130 but in retrospect he did get his M.R. for WINNING a race, NOT for running a place. But check the following out.Below is a list of horses that got huge M.R. increases for running a place and NOT WINNING a race!
    On July day a certain ex-jockey stated live on tele-track that Chat Ching deserved her M.R of 114 after having run places behind Captains Ransom and Queen Supreme. Her M.R. increased from 89 to 114 (it’s a penalty, not an upward adjustment!) this filly has been a dismal failure.
    Sha Akbar had his M.R. increased from 97 to 119 for running places behind Malmoos and Linebacker, he ran down the drain in the July!
    Rascallion had his M.R. increased from 109 to 123 for running places behind Linebacker, also a failure.
    Sovereign Spirit had his M.R. increased from 106 to 124 for fluking a 3rd in the MET, another dismal failure! And the list goes on and on and on! Now I ask you and my grievance is the following, WHAT RACES MUST THESE HORSES now run in with their inflated and DISTORTED M.R.’S! The list goes on and on! I still maintain and always will maintain that this M.R system of handicapping should be changed A.S.A.P. It’s an absolute farce!
    I thank you

  3. Graham Martin says:

    P.S. Sorry, two horses that I need to make mention of:
    Pamushana’s Pride from 91 to 116 for running 2nd to Malmoos
    2nd Base had his M.R. increased from 112 to 122 for running places behind Malmoos and Got The Greenlight. He was unplaced behind Linebacker in the Daily News.

    Now according to the so called handicappers the Jet Dark M.R. should “dispel the view held by most that horses should be rated in terms of their overall body of work” rather than their performances. Are the handicappers referring to ONE good performance? Or more than one good performance to confirm the first good performance?
    In my opinion it should NOT dispel the View held by most that horses should be rated in terms of their overall body of work, it should include their overall body of work AND their performance, and it should not include just one good performance! And emphasis should be placed on WINS,not places!
    Donald Bradshaw need’nt feel that he has been chastised, he can take it as a learning curve.

  4. Jay August says:

    GM, how about showing the handicappers what they should do with JD after the QP, and with PP after the Derby if they were to take into account “body of work” and “performance”. Lets see the skilfully crafted middle road from you.

  5. Graham Martin says:

    Jay August what was Expressfromtheus doing in the July with a M.R. of 122 which he achieved by winning an allowance plate and a Pinnacle stks? Two M.R. points below Linebacker? and equal with the July winner Kommedieding? It does’nt take a Rocket scientist to see that there is something wrong somewhere! The person who could have predicted that Pearl Of Asia would win the GR1 Mercury at WFA and also the lowest rated horse in the race must be some kind of a Genius! Especially with a sensational sprinter like Rio Querari running unplaced. How about giving me a skillfully crafted explanation to the above!

  6. Neill says:

    The best example In recent years of a horse well managed in terms of MR probably Rouge Allure, 12 wins and 17 places, prize money in excess of R1 million. She won again (easily) last week at age 8 and she’s not finished yet. Merit rating still under a 100. I assume she will retire to co-owner Mick Goss’ Summerveld stud in the course of the current season, and imagine her progeny would be quite popular. Well done to the connections.

  7. Jay August says:

    So true to your merit Graham. You make an assertion then get challenged to provide the solution and you obfuscate with more assertions. Then you have the temerity to ask me to answer your questions.

  8. Chris Swart says:


    You don’t earn money handicapping. I know Albert abs discussed her future with Act of War.
    12 wins in 8 years when you need 3 wins a year to pay cost is only half way there

    He races his homebreds, so breeding and raising costs lower, but he despite being a tough, hard knocker, she is way behind her earnings

  9. Graham Martin says:

    Don’t worry Jay, at least we both agree that Rainbow Bridge should get Horse Of The Year and for the same reasons! stop stressing!

  10. karel says:

    Why waste your breath.
    It appears Mr Martin has never opened his mind to anything other than his own opinion.

    Yet there’s a ton of information on the subject on this very website.
    It’s called insight, things every punter ought to know.

    What are the chances we could persuade Mr Martin to sample some of the content?

  11. Neill says:

    Hi Chris thanks for the clarification. Rouge Allure just a big favourite of mine – and 12 Wins certainly looks good on any broodmare’s CV.

  12. Karel, thanks for all the great works you have published on Sporting Post with regards to Handicapping. I have been out of racing of many years and recently returned to the game as I find myself with more spare time these days, so your insights have been very helpful. Jay August also contributes by publishing his analysis regularly and I find his work highly motivating. Donald Bradshaw must be commended for acknowledging that on this occasion he underestimated the ability of JD, I’m sure others did as well, takes a big man Donald.

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