Have the handicappers got it wrong?
THE weights given to the three-year-olds in Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July – in particular to Edict Of Nantes – have been the subject of almost as much controversy as the historic treaty after which the second favourite was named.
Many racing professionals are adamant that the classic generation has got off lightly and is going to throw up the winner for the first time since Legislate three seasons ago.
So, have the handicappers got it wrong? Durban-based Lennon Maharaj, who works in conjunction with colleagues Matthew Lips and Roger Smith, doesn’t think so.
He said: “We try to look at things as objectively as we can but the problem we have with the three-year-olds is that not enough of them run against older horses before the July, so they are rated almost as a separate crop and when that happens it is hard to compare.
“But I wouldn’t say that we have done anything differently this season and I would think it (their treatment) is pretty much in line with last year.”
Edict Of Nantes is rated 107 and last year’s Daily News winner Rabada was on 106 when he was scratched.
The three-year-olds who ran were Abashiri (13th) 117, Black Arthur (7th) 106, Samurai Blade (16th) 106, It’s My Turn (4th) 105, Rocketball (15th) 105, Mambo Mime (10th) 103, Ten Gun Salute (8th) 102, Marinaresco (2nd) 101, BelaBela (6th) 107. There are fewer of them this time. In addition to Edict Of Nantes they are: Al Sahem (106), Pagoda (101), Tilbury Fort (100), Safe Harbour (103) and Horizon (100).
Maharaj said: “Abashiri won the SA Classic by nearly four lengths and, although he didn’t achieve his rating subsequently, we weren’t going to drop him for winning the SA Derby. This season Gold Standard ran to 114 when fourth in the Met but he and William Longsword beat the rest of the field by three and three-quarter lengths in the Cape Guineas. To say the three-year-olds are under-rated using Gold Standard to compare with is probably a bit unfair.”
Interestingly Maharaj believes that It’s My Turn could be the dark horse in the race. “I personally have always felt he was a bit under-rated on his Cape Derby win. He has only gone up a point since last year’s July and he is a year older.”