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Thursday 17 January 2013

BHA revise ratings

It has been a funny old week for horseracing this week, and it's only Thursday.

There cannot be many horseracing fans who are not aware of the wholesale reassessment of the Official Ratings of top flat racehorses since ratings began in 1977. Take note Frankel fans, Official Ratings began in 1977 and before that there were some incredibly good racehorses that are not caught in the BHA ratings net. I've been watching horseracing since 1967 and my first ever wager (courtesy of my mum) was a shilling or 5-pence eachway on Ribocco in the 1967 Derby at Epsom. Lester Piggott managed to guide that one into 2nd place behind Royal Palace the 7/4 fav; whereas Ribocco was 22/1 and my "2-bob" stake turned into "six & six". That was it, I was bitten by the bug!

As such, I've seen the likes of Nijinsky (the last winner of the Triple-Crown), Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef, and Roberto (only horse to beat Brigadier Gerard) all run. How would I rate them alongside Frankel? At a mile I'd have Frankel top-rated, but only by a 1lb over Brigadier Gerard who was also unbeaten at the trip, and then only because my memory of the Brigadier fades (it was 40 years ago when he ran). At a mile and a quarter and longer, I'd have the Brigadier and Mill Reef disputing top because at the time (1971-72) they were truly the most superior horses in Europe and we'd seen some good one in the recent past back then. I never saw Sea Bird II on "live" tv, and the recordings of his races do not seem to do the horse justice. But he absolutely sauntered home in the 1965 Arc de Triomphe beating a field chock-full of Group 1 winners by 6-lengths to the 2nd and another 5-lengths to the 3rd, with jockey Pat Glennon patting the horse down the neck for the final 100 yards!

Onto today, and we have a decent meeting at Wincanton which has survived the overnight frost. The handicap chase over 2m5f at 2:20 looks interesting, mainly as the 3/1 race-fav is the topweight Definity , who comes here today off a break of 674-days. This will be only the 5th chase race for the fav and he's only race 7 times under-rules as it is. If he's as good as he was, he'll take some beating as he's been dropped 6lb by the handicapper, but that's a big ask even if his trainer is Paul Nicholls. That said, I can't see him finishing out of the frame (unless he doesn't finish at all) as this looks like a weak class 3 chase. The horse that I reckon will be too good for him in this is BALLYALLIA MAN who comes here in decent form having been racing over 3-miles (or thereabouts) which looks beyond his best. This drop in trip to 2m5f should suit him well as will the soft ground. Unfortunately, I don't think there's any value in his odds either as he's at best 7/2. I may put these two into a reverse forecast or a "swinger".

The next on the card is the 3m3½f Somerset National in which I think the 9/4 race-fav Chartreux is a bit of a plodder. He's found nothing at the business end of his last couple of races, and the extra half-mile today won't help him. The 2nd-fav is Dusky Bob who is on my alert list as I think he's capable of a 120+ performance so, off OR111 he looks well-treated. Thing is, I don't think he's a 3-mile-plus horse. Yes, he won LTO over 3-mile but it was only a 5-runner race and just 2-lengths covered the 1st-3 home. When he was "staying-on" the race before that over 3m4f at Haydock, he was merely passing beaten horses in the final half-mile. Pettifour was unable to hold the well handicapped winner in the Sussex National LTO, and is another that possesses no gears. That brings me to RICHARDS SUNDANCE. I'm going to ignore his last run at Doncaster as all his 4 wins have come when going right-handed. Before that, he won over 3-mile at Exeter off OR123 when he was always "in-the-van" and stayed-on gamely. He's up 6lbs on that winning rating, but claimer Harry Derham is worth every ounce of his 5lb claim and so you could say he'll just be a 1lb worse off today.

Bugger! Just looked and Richards Sundance is a non-runner!

No selections today.

Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.

Thanks from Wayward Lad

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