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  • #1327970

    thewexfordman
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    Are we in an unusual time in terms of the ratings being given to national hunt horses? I think im right in saying that Bobsworth is the last horse to be given an official rating of 180 or more? Sprinter sacre was also given a 180+ rating around a similar time. Are our current crop of top chasers being underrated, were the previous generations over rated or is there just that much of a difference in quality. Look at all the 180+ horses over the last 15 years and we have none now. The highest is 174 I think.

    Having a horse rated in the 170s could be described as unusual but the number of horses rated in the 180s is so low that they could be described as freakish. Is it just a coincidence that so many freakish horses existed in the 15 years from 1998 to 2013 or were they over estimated by the handicappers? For example was First Lieutenant at his best really 2 pounds better than Sizing John? Was Azertyuiop 4 pounds better than Douvan or Altior? Was Bobsworth 3 pounds better than Don Cossack?

    Just an interesting topic for discussion I thought.

    #1328002

    homersimpson
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    BW during his GC winning season beat a couple of good yardsticks. Tidal Bay in the Hennessy, who was getting better with age after his move to Nicholls. TB went on to frank the form by winning the Lexus. BW then beat the KG winner Long Run in the GC. His rating went up 20 pounds in the 2 runs that season so this could be considered excessive. He was also part of a stable that was absolutely flying with just about all horses running above their weight that season. Putting in a good performance at Cheltenham also helps, a track BW clearly loved. BW never reached these heights again suggesting it was a tough GC. Denman, Kauto, Moscow Flyer and Sprinter were definitely all 180+ horses.

    Of the horses since 2013 injuries have taken toll of those who could have reached the mark. Cue Card was improving until stopping in the 2013 KG and then eventually breathing problems were found.

    Don Cossack could possibly have improved further and could have been given a higher mark if he had beaten CC without him falling in the 2016 GC.

    Thistlecrack was in his novice season when getting injured. still time to improve his mark if the injury has’t taken its toll and he’s not getting any younger.

    And then there was that brutal 2015 GC which has nearly finished of Coneygree. Should he have been given a higher mark than the 172 for this run? As he was only a novice the handicapper possibly downgraded this performance? Djakadam, as a 6 year old, ran an absolute blinder and had the world at is feet, but again the race seems to have flattened him out and he has not been the same since.

    Sizing John has room for improvement but will have to win a second GC to get anywhere near 180 and how many win two. Altior is probably the most likely, although the latest setback does not help his cause and if he gets back to normal will surely top Azertyuiop. Neither Altior or Douvan have won a CC yet.

    So at present probably not but injury setbacks have not helped the best horses these past three years.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  homersimpson.
    #1328013
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    Good thread.

    My idea of a turning point for handicappers in all respected organisations was Master Minded who, on the basis of just 3 completed runs over fences in this country, went from 145 to 186. Those three races featured defeats of Hasty Prince, who was in receipt of 6lbs, and VP Ustedes twice, the first time when VPU was conceding 6lbs, and the next time at levels.

    Sure, his Champion Chase win looked stunning, but VPU’s main claim to fame was winning the CC the year before beating one of the weakest fields ever assembled for the race (driven out to beat Dempsey). Hindsight is wonderful and there’s no argument that handicappers were faced with a tough job after that scintillating victory; not only did they have the visual effect to interpret, but the adulation of the crowds would have pressured them too. Still, given he’d run over fences just 3 times, they should probably have paused for thought.

    He held onto his OR of 186 for the remainder of the season, ending with a narrow victory over Big Zeb. The handicapper then appeared to anticipate that memories would fade or soften during the quiet months of summer and marked him down to 178 for the beginning of the next season. He never again got above that, dropping as low as 172.

    178 for his 2008 QM win would, in hindsight, have been much nearer the correct mark imo and although the BHA men would never admit it, I think a big lesson was learned.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1328014
    bozlike
    bozlike
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    It’s definitely an interesting point of discussion and not a topic that’s passed me by.

    There could be a couple of variables thrown into the mix here. With many top handicaps, the Grand National being the obvious peak starting point, the handicapper has taken issue in recent years by condensing the weights. The better horses are being ‘given a chance’ here and when one good horse is rated lower then the next horse will follow. The domino effect begins….

    These changes being made seem to have coincided with a monumental shift of who wins the (again) bigger handicaps. Horses running off 10 stone dead have no longer been the ones to follow. Let’s look at the Cheltenham festival as an example. Being interested in big race trends, especially going back a couple of years, a lot of these are proving pretty ineffective in the present day. What was the stat from the Festival Handicap Chase on the Tuesday, ‘No horse has won off a mark of 143 or higher’ or something in that ball park. That was around 5 years ago, and that’s kicked the curb and got worse every year then on.

    I’d hasten to add that this is a recurring theme in most top level handicaps in recent years. I’d invite anyone to check the facts and figures as it holds up. Does this lead me to think the opposite of TWM’s thoughts? No, not in the slightest. I do however, think that Phil Smith has taken a new approach in recent years. I think I’m right in saying he retires at the end of the season. What the next few years beyond that brings in this sense will I’m sure be of interest.

    Boz
    @TomBoardman87

    #1328017
    Gingertipster
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    Are we in an unusual time in terms of the ratings being given to national hunt horses? I think im right in saying that Bobsworth is the last horse to be given an official rating of 180 or more? Sprinter sacre was also given a 180+ rating around a similar time. Are our current crop of top chasers being underrated, were the previous generations over rated or is there just that much of a difference in quality. Look at all the 180+ horses over the last 15 years and we have none now. The highest is 174 I think.

    Having a horse rated in the 170s could be described as unusual but the number of horses rated in the 180s is so low that they could be described as freakish. Is it just a coincidence that so many freakish horses existed in the 15 years from 1998 to 2013 or were they over estimated by the handicappers? For example was First Lieutenant at his best really 2 pounds better than Sizing John? Was Azertyuiop 4 pounds better than Douvan or Altior? Was Bobsworth 3 pounds better than Don Cossack?

    Just an interesting topic for discussion I thought.

    imo Don Cossack was under-rated by some but not by Timeform, rated superior to Bobsworth.

    First Lieutenant was probably over-rated, although the way we think of that particular racehorse is probably reduced by the fact he became difficult to win with. Had some really good placed form. Not that Sizing John should as yet be rated a 180+, although only a seven year old and still has the potential. However, fact is beating Minella Rocco 2 3/4 lengths with Native River a short head back in 3rd – can not be rated highly. Neither can a 3/4 length beating of Empire Of Dirt in the Irish Gold Cup or a short head victory over Djakadam in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

    I do think that some people do not understand how ratings work. Just because a horse is a multiple Grade 1 winner does not mean the rating should be put up… If horse A and horse B run to their best and horse A only wins by 2 3/4 lengths all out… Then horse A can only be rated 2 3/4 lengths better – no matter how many Grade 1 races it has won. If it were any different then you’d get a totally misrepresentitive assessment of the two horses chances/ability if/when the two horses meet again…

    Neither does it matter what the name of the race is or where. It does not matter that Douvan was beaten in the Champion Chase, his rating must be based on far superior runnings earlier on in the season – as long as he’s thought still capable of that rating. Douvan should be rated a 180+ and imo just as good as Azertyuiop. Hopefully he can come back as good as ever after injury. Altior too was below his best when victorious in the Arkle and produced better elsewhere. Just as good if not better than his ex-stable companion Sprinter Sacre at the same stage. Potentially an exceptional racehorse, or at least he was before an unfortunate wind problem. Fingers crossed we see a Douvan Vs Altior match up, with both at their best, another Moscow Flyer Vs Azertyuiop moment.

    People should not take any notice of official ratings, Timeform’s are more accurate.

    value is everything
    #1328019

    homersimpson
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    I’d forgotten about the MM blip in my 180+ rated horses. In fact after his CC win over VPU did not VPU stuff him over 2 1/2 miles at Aintree less than a month later. The 186 mark stood presumably because he was running over 20f rather than 16 and this was considered the blip :scratch:

    #1328020
    Gingertipster
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    I’d forgotten about the MM blip in my 180+ rated horses. In fact after his CC win over VPU did not VPU stuff him over 2 1/2 miles at Aintree less than a month later. The 186 mark stood presumably because he was running over 20f rather than 16 and this was considered the blip :scratch:

    Horses are not machines, they don’t run to their best rating every time.
    Are you really saying the handicapper should bring a rating down after the horse fails when getting wound up beforehand over a different trip and ploughed through two out?

    value is everything
    #1328030
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    That Aintree ‘revenge’ by VPU might have given the handicappers pause for thought about the giant Master Minded rating, but many have failed to reproduce festival form at Aintree, aside from the bad error.

    But what it might have begun to point to was the fact that VPU wasn’t a true two-miler and would, as it turned out, be at his best over a longer trip. Many would argue, and with some cause, that a 20f horse should be well suited to 16 at Cheltenham and arguably that’s what allowed VPU to win his own QM in 2007, poor as it was. On the face of it Master Minded had earned his big rating for hammering the reigning two-mile champ. As it turned out VPU never had the speed for two miles against proper Grade 1 horses and was an exceptionally fortunate winner of a QM purely because of the opposition quality.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1328038
    Gingertipster
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    Good thread.

    My idea of a turning point for handicappers in all respected organisations was Master Minded who, on the basis of just 3 completed runs over fences in this country, went from 145 to 186. Those three races featured defeats of Hasty Prince, who was in receipt of 6lbs, and VP Ustedes twice, the first time when VPU was conceding 6lbs, and the next time at levels.

    Sure, his Champion Chase win looked stunning, but VPU’s main claim to fame was winning the CC the year before beating one of the weakest fields ever assembled for the race (driven out to beat Dempsey). Hindsight is wonderful and there’s no argument that handicappers were faced with a tough job after that scintillating victory; not only did they have the visual effect to interpret, but the adulation of the crowds would have pressured them too. Still, given he’d run over fences just 3 times, they should probably have paused for thought.

    He held onto his OR of 186 for the remainder of the season, ending with a narrow victory over Big Zeb. The handicapper then appeared to anticipate that memories would fade or soften during the quiet months of summer and marked him down to 178 for the beginning of the next season. He never again got above that, dropping as low as 172.

    178 for his 2008 QM win would, in hindsight, have been much nearer the correct mark imo and although the BHA men would never admit it, I think a big lesson was learned.

    I think your assessment of Voy Por Ustedes is unfair, Joe. Beating Dempsey 1 1/2 lengths in the year before was nowhere near the horse’s best performance.

    Voy Por was beaten 3 lengths by Twist magic in the Tingle Creek, 19 lengths by Master Minded.
    Beaten 7 lengths by Kauto Star in the Tingle Creek, 19 lengths by Master Minded.
    Beaten 8 1/2 lengths by Kauto Star in the King George, 19 lengths by Master Minded.
    Beaten 2 lengths by Imperial Commander in the Ryanair, with 3/4 length back to Schindler’s Hunt in third. Yet beaten 19 lengths by Master Minded.
    Beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Alberta’s Run in the Amlin Chase, trying to give the multiple Grade 1 winner 10 lbs. Yet… (you get the picture)
    Voy Por won the Melling Chase by 1/2 length from Schindler’s Hunt. Yet…
    Voy Por won the Grade 1 Ascot Chase by 14 lengths, admittedly from a poor field. Yet…

    …So the issue is not that Master Minded’s Champion Chase rating should in any way be reduced due to Voy Por being a poorer quality horse than people gave him credit. Voy Por was obviously a good horse. Instead…

    For form analysts the issue is how far Voy Por Ustedes was below his best in being 19 lengths second. The problem they had was not only was there a long way between the winner and second, but also 16 lengths back to the third Fair Along. So Voy Por beat the third Fair Along by at least the number of lengths that could be expected by rating Vor Por as running to form.

    Every other horse rated below their best anyway, so their form can not be used to bring down the form and the time was apparently exceptional…

    So there was every reason to judge the form as pretty much every ratings organisation did at the time.

    As you say, hindsight is a wonderful thing and imo Master Minded was probably over-rated at the time – with both Voy Por and Fair Along running below their best by some way. ie Needing to rate every one of Master Minded’s seven rivals as running below form… But even then – with the distances concerned – Master Minded’s performance still deserves to be rated exceptional.

    As Timeform said after Master Minded’s very next race at Aintree, ran as though having a “physical problem”. I doubt he was ever quite the same again.

    Other form didn’t quite achieve the height of even his revised rating for that first Champion Chase. But some latter performances were very good. eg Beating Petit Robin by 16 lengths, coasting clear in the Victor Chandler.

    value is everything
    #1328039

    homersimpson
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    Not at all. But from the handicap mark given to MM after the CC, the handicapper seems to believe VPU gave his true running that day. Just a month earlier MM only beat VPU 5 lengths receiving 6 pounds. I don’t believe MM improved so much within a month. It was a mighty performance especially for one so young but not a 186 performance IMO. Was his demolition of Alberta’s Run over 2m4f at Aintree really 8lb inferior to his CC win?

    #1328041
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    Aye, GT, I should perhaps have made the point in my first post rather than my follow up that VPU was a better horse over farther as most of the races you list in your post show. There’s an argument too that for all the brilliance of Kauto, 2 miles wouldn’t have been his best trip. Twist Magic was a decent horse but not top class imo.

    I wouldn’t argue that the handicappers faced a very difficult one after that QM, but the crux of my post is that they too will have learned and acted on hindsight. I doubt you will find any serious form student these days who now believes that 186 was an accurate reflection of that performance. By the end of that season I had marked it as 10lbs too much. I’d modify that slightly these days in line with the BHA’s 178.

    Having said all that, and against my own argument, you can probably never discount the possibility that on one glorious day of its career a horse can run to a mark it will never match. I remember that season very well. Nicholls had been hugely enthusiastic about the horse and what he was doing at home after Sandown. So much so that I backed him at Newbury and for the QM.

    Nicholls had said the horse had suddenly bloomed (I paraphrase) and so there has to be the possibility that this young improving horses who was thriving in a way he’d never done before nor would do again went to Cheltenham in perfect shape at precisely the time – maybe even to the day – that he reached the zenith. Added to that might have been ground that was perfect for him to the degree that he’d never race again on just such a suitable surface. Also, the pace might have been – to the second – the optimum for him etc etc…you know what I’m getting at.

    He might have had a Federer moment. This recalls a quote I saw from Federer in his prime when a journalist was marvelling about his reactions to a ball travelling at 130mph. Fed said, ‘When everything is right, the ball seems to me the size of a dinner plate travelling in slow motion’. Perhaps such a zone can be inhabited by animal athletes as well as humans.

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1328047

    homersimpson
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    Yes who knows Joe. If the Wednesday had not been cancelled, he probably would have won but would he have put up such a performance, even if only 24 hours earlier :unsure:

    But was it a 4 pound better performance than Denman giving Kauto a 7 length beating just the day after? He also gave the reigning champ a proper beating.

    #1328118

    thewexfordman
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    Another interesting point on ratings.
    Who would have predicted in 2007 that in ten years time (2016/2017) Paul Nichols would end the season with no 160+ rated horse in his yard (I’m open to correction on this).

    Unless I’m having a total brain freeze I think his only 160+ rated horse is Politilogue rated 161 as a result of his latest win in Exeter a few weeks ago.

    #1328123

    greenasgrass
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    No; but then I wouldn’t have predicted that the nice young man who trained the Grand National winner that year would have gone on to train other good horses.

    #1328135
    Gingertipster
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    Aye, GT, I should perhaps have made the point in my first post rather than my follow up that VPU was a better horse over farther as most of the races you list in your post show. There’s an argument too that for all the brilliance of Kauto, 2 miles wouldn’t have been his best trip. Twist Magic was a decent horse but not top class imo.

    Voy Por may not have been at his very best at 2m, but he was still very good.

    Kauto Star may not have been at his best at 2m, but he was still a bloody good 2 miler… And Master Minded beat Voy Por Ustedes by 12 lengths more than Kauto Star did… And 16 more lengths than Twist Magic. So unless you believe Kauto Star an absolutely crap Tingle Creek winner and Twist Magic even worse… Then as I say, Joe; it was not that Voy Por was over-rated (even at 2m). As far as rating Master Minded’s performance goes there’s only one question to ask… How much was Voy Por Ustedes below his best?

    value is everything
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