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Is there something wrong with the Irish Handicapping system?

Home Forums Horse Racing Is there something wrong with the Irish Handicapping system?

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  • #20083
    DallimannDallimann
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    • Total Posts 138

    Today, Take It To The Max hacked up in what was supposed to be the trickiest handicap of the day (congratulations to all involved) at Leopardstown. He is a 4 year old, winner of 5 races! He raced off a handicap mark of 88. Between 13th May 2010 and 9th October 2010 he went down 20 Ibs.
    One horse in the race Balladiene had been raised 6Ibs for her last 2 outings and hadn’t even won.
    My horse, Winning Impact struggled to win last time beating Balladiene, and he got raised 6 lbs (he only won, because everything went in his favour). So, he didn’t have much of a chance today anyway.
    Another horse of mine Silver Shuffle won a small handicap over a year ago at the Curragh, and got raised 14 lbs and has struggled ever since. He has been consistent (like Take it to the max for example), yet he has only gone down 2 lbs in over a year.

    Is it normal procedure to go down 20 lbs in such a short time?

    #375070
    DallimannDallimann
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    • Total Posts 138

    Take it to the Max is English trained

    #375073
    robnorthrobnorth
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    • Total Posts 4580

    TBetween 13th May 2010 and 9th October 2010 he went down 20 Ibs.

    Not the full story, since Take It to The Max has gone up 11lbs since that time, having joined a new stable over the winter.

    The handicapper does drop horses by that amount fairly quickly on occasion though sometimes it’s difficult to fathom the overall reasoning.

    Jose1993

    had an epic thread running on the subject a while back:

    http://www.theracingforum.co.uk/horse-racing-forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=83730

    Rob

    #375086
    DallimannDallimann
    Member
    • Total Posts 138

    Thanks Robnorth….Interesting thread…

    I wouldn’t mind mine going down 20 and then going up 11… :wink:

    It’s the Irish own fault, can’t blame the trainers taking advantage… :?

    #375140
    MaoriVenture
    Member
    • Total Posts 94

    Dallimann, when Famous Name won a Group 3 at Leopardstown on 8th May beating bascially handicappers, I did some research on British v Irish handicappers racing in Ireland. Basically this showed how British trained horses have an advantage when running off their BHA marks in Ireland. Taken from

    http://www.racehandicapper.co.uk

    :

    Consolation for Dermot Weld when Famous Name 96+ continued his astonishing record outside of Group 1-2 company in the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes. His 6yo’s record now reads 21212111111111 below the highest grades. This race confirmed how badly Irish handicappers are treated compared to their English counterparts. In a well run contest, the 2nd to 5th horses, all carrying 9st 9lbs, officially rated between 96-105 and separated by just a length at the line, returned time figures ranging from 70 to 73.

    British trainers like Mark Johnston (7-17 for 41% winning strike rate), Dandy Nicholls (6-24 for 25%) and Kevin Ryan (4-24 for 17%) have a tremendous record in Irish handicaps in the last 5 years and have taken full advantage of this discrepancy between the official assessors either side of the Irish Sea

    .

    When you bear in mind that Irish handicaps rarely have single digit fields (the Johnston runners faced average 15+ runners fields, Ryan 16+ and Nicholls 14+) , the collective strike rate of just those three trainers (17-65 for 26% and 91 unit level stakes profit of 140%) is huge. Whilst they are all masters of the handicap game, there is no doubt as to the main contributory factor for their success across the water and why Irish trainers struggle when competing in Flat handicaps in the UK. I would estimate that Irish runners are generally disadvantaged by at least 8-10lbs.

    Since writing that, Johnston has a 3-5 strike rate (+270% ROI) in Irish handicaps
    Kevin Ryan 2-4 for +362.5%
    Dandy Nicholls 0-1

    #375206
    jose1993
    Member
    • Total Posts 1228

    Certainly interesting statistics on British trainers in Irish handicaps, Maori Venture. Perhaps after years of aiming to reverse a perceived "well-in" bias in Irish horses travelling to Britain they’ve tilted it too far?

    The case above again highlights that there’s no logical way of dropping horses in handicaps that perform a long way below their rating in any given race. For winning a 14k, 20 runner, Leopardstown handicap in the style Take It To The Max did yesterday, I’d expect him to go up a minimum of 10lbs.

    #375214
    DallimannDallimann
    Member
    • Total Posts 138

    Thanks guys…Heard Irish owners and trainers (including me) are up in arms about our horses being harshly handicapped. Wonder if it’ll change anything.

    As stated above tho, I’m a good loser and I applaud the English for taking advantage, I’d do the same… :oops:

    #375216
    robnorthrobnorth
    Participant
    • Total Posts 4580

    The hurdles marks are out of kilter as well. Irish hurdlers are generally rated about 10-14lbs higher in the UK than Ireland. Chase marks, on the hand, seem pretty much the same between UK and Ireland.

    Go figure!

    When I first read jose1993’s thread I must admit I wasn’t impressed. Forty-four pages later and in my opinion it has turned into one of the all time classic TRF threads!

    Rob

    #375234
    MaoriVenture
    Member
    • Total Posts 94

    14 runner open sprint handicap at Dundalk on Friday.
    The four British trained runners manage to finish 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th.

    Not sure that the same discrepancy occurs over jumps, Robnorth. The British handicapper tends to add 10-12lbs to Irish jumpers marks when they go to England doesn’t he?

    But if I was the Irish flat handicapper, would definitely be looking to either water down his own scale, or at least uplift the British visitors marks.

    #375262
    freeradicalfreeradical
    Member
    • Total Posts 336

    If you watch competitive Irish handicaps, without UK runners, it is frequent that not much will the top 10 horses. Therefore, within Ireland the handicapping system can be said to be working. What is not working is the UK horses being either underhandicapped or the Irish horses being collectively overhandicapped. Can’t blame the UK trainers for taking advantage.

    #375329
    DallimannDallimann
    Member
    • Total Posts 138

    We were 16th of 20…and handicapper hasn’t even dropped us a pound… :?

    #375332
    ricky lakericky lake
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2358

    agree Rob , a classic thread , and well done to all

    #375341
    MaoriVenture
    Member
    • Total Posts 94

    going back to your original query, Dallimann, Take It To The Max had actually gone down 25lbs for George Moore in 7 starts before being transferred to Richard Fahey beginning of this season.
    Never within 7 lengths of the winner in those races, so can understand why the British handicapper dropped the horse. Clearly found his form again last 4 starts.

    But interesting that Winning Impact was beaten 23 lengths at Galway and 6 lengths at Curragh before winning at Roscommon, and only got dropped 1lb for the defeats.
    Suppose you can argue fact that you won at Roscommon that the handicapper was correct and 75 is about right?
    What I find annoying with the handicapping system is that 75 is right for your horse and gives you a winning chance…… whereas as you say, 6lbs more to 81 means you can’t win.

    Personally think handicappers should leave horses on winning marks that give them a chance, not put them on marks which mean they are virtually guaranteed to lose.

    As you say, Silver Shuffle looks too consistent for the handicapper to drop him much especially not beaten far in big fields last twice. He’s still got the Curragh win last Oct in mind by the looks of things. Good luck with your horses, hope you get your turn again.

    #375365
    DallimannDallimann
    Member
    • Total Posts 138

    Thanks Maori Venture…I’m sure our turn will come again. We are in the game for a bit of fun and therefore our horses are always "off".

    Yes, Winning Impact is maybe not even a real 75 horse. Everything just fell into place at Roscommon, heavy going, overpaced, strong ride and just held on coming from the back. The race he won at Naas last season was a very, very weak maiden. He had no chance at Galway startbox 16 from 16 over 7 furlongs. If we hadn’t travelled over wouldn’t have ran him, then we thought we might get dropped a few pounds…wrong!

    As to Silver Shuffle… he won an overpaced apprentice race by 4 1/2 lengths, has been consistent since, yet he’s obviously struggling. They never gave him a chance upping him 14 Ilbs, and that for a small owner and trainer. Still, he’s a credit and gives us real fun, though very unlucky just to have 1 win next to his name.

    Because of the Irish handicapper… :(

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