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Cross Generation Comparisons – A Waste Of Time?

Home Forums Horse Racing Cross Generation Comparisons – A Waste Of Time?

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  • #12832
    % MAN
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    • Total Posts 5104

    Does it really matter which generation is best?

    There has been a seemingly endless discussion on here the past few days as to the relative merits of Sea The Stars against previous generations.

    Personally I couldn’t really give a flying fig if Sea The Stars is better than Sea Bird, Dancing Brave, Mill House or any other horse from a previous generation.

    At the end of the day he can only race against his contemporaries and it is only against them he can be properly measured – and even that is open to subjectivity.

    Any attempt at comparison across generations is 100% subjective and generally clouded by personal prejudice anyway – so what purpose does it serve?

    That previous question is a serious one because I genuinely fail to see what is achieved by making comparisons.

    The past is the past, it has gone – it is today and tomorrow that is important.

    #252136
    moehat
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    • Total Posts 8393

    I was going to say how I totally agreed with you, and then I thought of Arkle, and realised that the frustration came from trying to make people understand what it was like when he was racing. To me, the charisma of a horse is as important as it’s achievements; the excitement that people feel seeing him race [or, with the true greats just seeing them walk round the paddock]. Hype will not create that feeling; it happens and you suddenly realise that everyone around you feels the same. When I was at York, I spoke to some of the people working there who said they could not believe the atmosphere on Juddmonte day; how people lined the walkways just to see Sea the Stars walk by. There’s also the amazing attitude that great horses have; the way they carry themselves and respond to the crowd. They don’t do a timeform rating for that!

    #252138
    Bosranic
    Member
    • Total Posts 1982

    The core of any forum is comprised of subjective judgment and personal preference.

    Forums present a platform to express your personal opinions and feelings.

    The world isn’t black and white, so why should we restrict ourselves to discussing the facts?

    I think you will find the most prolonged topics are those that are peppered with subjective and personal preferences (rather than ‘prejudice’).

    The ‘Sea The Stars’ debate is both interesting and entertaining. It’s topics such as these that compel people from different walks of life to express their opinions and make forums such as this a great place to visit.

    The number of pages dedicated to this topic is testament to this.

    Not every topic should have a purpose.

    Just a bit of harmless fun, really.

    #252139
    % MAN
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    • Total Posts 5104

    To me, the charisma of a horse is as important as it’s achievements; the excitement that people feel seeing him race [or, with the true greats just seeing them walk round the paddock]. Hype will not create that feeling; it happens and you suddenly realise that everyone around you feels the same. When I was at York, I spoke to some of the people working there who said they could not believe the atmosphere on Juddmonte day; how people lined the walkways just to see Sea the Stars walk by. There’s also the amazing attitude that great horses have; the way they carry themselves and respond to the crowd. They don’t do a timeform rating for that!

    Absolutely right Mo – it was exactly the same in Paris on Sunday and to an extent I have never experienced before – electric is a word I used to describe the atmosphere. It is almost impossible to describe.

    I couldn’t care less what rating or number is stuck against him – all I know is he is a very, very special horse.

    #252142
    denman54
    Member
    • Total Posts 81

    People will always try to compare horses from different generations. I dont think its a waste of time and in fact I enjoy trying to make comparisons. Its part of racing imo.

    #252147
    Drone
    Participant
    • Total Posts 5628

    Any attempt at comparison across generations is 100% subjective and generally clouded by personal prejudice anyway – so what purpose does it serve?

    That previous question is a serious one because I genuinely fail to see what is achieved by making comparisons.

    The past is the past, it has gone – it is today and tomorrow that is important.

    That it’s subjective goes without saying. Horse racing

    per se

    provides a subjective experience for its followers and I’d warrant it’s the intellectual stimulation provided in attempting to objectify that subjectivity that many find so satisfying.

    The weighing up of a race, horse, performance be that for betting purposes or simply for personal satisfaction is a subjective cerebral endeavour. "Personal prejudice" in our inconsequential little world is really no more than forming an opinion on a horse that rankles with others; a wholly admirable trait in racing.

    Sea The Stars’s exploits this season have indeed rekindled memories of those golden years 40 years or so ago, and personally I thank him for that.

    Comparison across the generations may be a pointless and futile exercise but it’s human nature to do it; harmless, enjoyable and a healthy outing for the little grey cells if you can overcome the impulse to view the distant past through the rose-tinted spectacles of youth.

    Look forward always but utilise the wisdom gained from experience. The past may be gone but it ain’t irrelevant. I would sooner seek the advice of a gentleman of your advancing years Paul than a naive, innocent youth who has only today and tomorrow to call on.

    Is Sea The Stars better than Sea Bird II?

    Is Wayne Rooney better than Tommy Lawton?

    Is Sachin Tendulkar better than Don Bradman?

    Is Gordon Brown better than Clement Attlee? (no contest that one) :lol:

    #252164
    wit
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2165

    does it have practical consequences where those being compared are still competing in the breeding sheds ?

    #252165
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    I couldn’t care less what rating or number is stuck against him – all I know is he is a very, very special horse.

    Each to their own, and whilst I accept that ratings have flaws I’d rather try to quantify what a horse has achieved rather than end up with a list like

    Sea-Bird = Very very very special
    Sea The Stars = Very very special
    Dancing Brave = Pretty special
    Mill Reef = Rather special

    #252166
    % MAN
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    • Total Posts 5104

    I couldn’t care less what rating or number is stuck against him – all I know is he is a very, very special horse.

    Each to their own, and whilst I accept that ratings have flaws I’d rather try to quantify what a horse has achieved rather than end up with a list like

    Sea-Bird = Very very very special
    Sea The Stars = Very very special
    Dancing Brave = Pretty special
    Mill Reef = Rather special

    But why can’t they just all be special and leave it at that?

    #252167
    stilvi
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4515

    At the end day it doesn’t really matter but people do enjoy making comparisons between different generations. It will always happen and people will always have their own preferences. Pretty harmless fun I would suggest and nothing to lose sleep over.

    Like any thread on here if you don’t like them there is no need to read them.

    #252170
    clivexx
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2215

    Ratings are almost the least interesting and worthwhile of comparisons. For a start, they often reflect one race and one race only rather than a set of achievements (Hawk Wing) and secondly it is very very difficult to work out whether one set of peers to a champion are that much better than another. Ok Dancing Braves arc field certainly would look stronger than this years, but are we sure? ( well…i think we are in that instance)

    I suppose it is arguable that all ratings extend from the average runner (say 100 rated) rather than the immediate peers but again its a tricky game full of guesswork

    And certain horses win in certain ways. STS and Dancing Brave won by relatively slim margins because thats the way they race. Again, there is guesswork as to extent of superiority.

    I just cannot see the point and real value of arguing whether a horse from 40 years ago would have beaten one from this year conceding 2 lbs. No one will ever convince me they know the real answer to that

    If we are to compare, I believe the whole sum of the achievements over the career as well as the actual character of the horses (and connections) is more interesting.

    #252172
    Smithy
    Member
    • Total Posts 720

    It’s a shame that Messrs Oxx and Tsui took the easy option of running in the Arc. He could have proved he was the best horse ever if he had given a couple of stone to Supaseus and co in the Cambridgeshire…….

    Am in agreement with the original poster really. He is the best horse in my time watching racing and the fact he can’t be rated as highly as some from the past is more a reflection on what he has raced against, rather than a question of his brilliance.

    #252174
    moehat
    Participant
    • Total Posts 8393

    When England won the world cup [yes, I really am that old] I don’t remember people immediately saying, they may have won, but not as well as Brazil in 19 whatever or Germany in 19 whatever else. I’m sure all we remember is the enormity of the occasion and the feeling of elation that the country felt. Comparisons can be made, but at the time just enjoy what is happening. Maybe that ia why I try to go racing at times like Istabraqs third Champion Hurdle or Best Mates third Gold Cup. Compare Sea the Stars with other horses; yes it is part of the fun of racing, but don’t let it cloud that sense of wonderment at the time. Just soak it all up.

    #252175
    davidjohnson
    Member
    • Total Posts 4491

    I think me and clivexx are in danger of taking this debate away from what Paul actually said. In terms of the original point, there is some validity in suggesting that comparisons through generations are fruitless. Also worth considering that weight for age and handicapping techniques are rather different today than they were 60 years ago.

    In terms of using ratings to compare peers, I find them invaluable. Ofcourse as clivexx says some horses only produce certain figures under certain conditions, but anyone that uses ratings correctly is fully aware of that, and can factor that in. A rating doesn’t necessarily have to be a guide to absolute ability, it can be just as informative if used as a guide to how much improvement is required and then allows me to use my judgement as to whether the price offered is juicy enough to compensate for that.

    #252179
    clivexx
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2215

    wouldnt disagree with any of that DJ…

    The real usefulness of ratings is as a starting point in the current context

    #252186
    % MAN
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    • Total Posts 5104

    I think me and clivexx are in danger of taking this debate away from what Paul actually said. In terms of the original point, there is some validity in suggesting that comparisons through generations are fruitless. Also worth considering that weight for age and handicapping techniques are rather different today than they were 60 years ago.

    In terms of using ratings to compare peers, I find them invaluable. Ofcourse as clivexx says some horses only produce certain figures under certain conditions, but anyone that uses ratings correctly is fully aware of that, and can factor that in. A rating doesn’t necessarily have to be a guide to absolute ability, it can be just as informative if used as a guide to how much improvement is required and then allows me to use my judgement as to whether the price offered is juicy enough to compensate for that.

    Excellent post David which perfectly encapsulates why I don’t like comparing!!!

    #252188
    clivexx
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    • Total Posts 2215

    It was a very very good post DJ

    Did you write it all yourself?

    :wink:

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