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The Official Handicapper

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  • #3175
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3236

    <br>Apologies for the rant that follows, but I feel the need to let off steam.

    As some will be aware, I own a staying handicapper called Salute. He’s done me proud on turf over the last two seasons, but a win on dirt remains elusive.

    Nine days ago he ran second in a modest 2M handicap worth five grand at Wolverhampton, beaten a neck by an improving 3-y-old who was getting 18lbs.

    In what is now the typical robotic fashion of the handicapper, Salute’s reward for that is a rise of 3lbs in his rating, from 66 to 69.

    So despite the fact that he’s a 7-y-old with a career record of 0/14 on dirt, that he’s been beaten off 66 and 67 in his last two races at Wolverhampton, the handicapper believes he has improved by 3lbs.

    To add insult to injury, he’s also rasied his turf handicap rating by the same 3lbs as a result of his ‘improvement’ on dirt.

    Handicapping  horses used to be an art form that was based on an overall assessment of the individual, looking at the facts of his career as a whole. Now it’s a knee-jerk reaction to the last race with no consideration given to anything that happened before. Any idiot could do it and apparently does.

    Is it any wonder that owners and trainers are tempted to bend the rules, when the system they are expected to support is so patently stupid.

    AP<br>

    #80178
    Gareth Flynn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 583

    How many people actually work on the official handicap in the BHB?

    #80179
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3236

    <br>Gareth,

    About a dozen I believe – the work is divided up by age group and distance. So for example, one man deals with 2-y-olds, another does sprinters, another does 7F and 1M races and so on.

    AP

    #80180
    Ultimate Nightmare
    Member
    • Total Posts 326

    Have to agree AP, i would prefer to see horses actually benefit from running up to their mark. 🙁

    #80181
    Grey Desire
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1913

    Prime example earlier this season.<br>Horse rated 41 beats a 66 rated horse a short head giving it 2lbs and is raised 13lbs.

    A horse rated 46 beats the same 66 rated horse off level weights 3 lengths and is raised 6lbs.

    Doesn’t seem logical to me although the weight rises no doubt gave the two winners better chances of getting in more races after that.

    #80182
    Glenn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1981

    Life’s so unfair.

    The only thing more tiresome than connections moaning about the marks alloted to their charges is the regularity with which such charges win, off said mark, next time up.

    #80183
    yeats
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3085

    I agree with Glenn and think the handicappers do an excellent job. Why shouldn’t Salute go up for just being beaten by an improving 3yo, what about all the horses who finished behind Salute?

    #80184
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8968

    Isn’t the point that if the horse can’t win off 66 or 67 what on earth is the point in raising him to 69!

    The handicappers job, in theory, is to rate all horses in such a way that they all have the same winning chance. In reality the mindset seems to be to try to stop any of them winning.

    #80185
    Monkey
    Participant
    • Total Posts 141

    It’s hard when horses go up in the handicap without winning, and sometimes this even happens while they’re standing in their box. The genuine trier gets penalised while the rest are encouraged to hold everything back for the right day.

    #80186
    Mug Punter
    Member
    • Total Posts 27

    AP the solution is simple. For Salute’s next 2 races make sure the jockey is told to find every sort of trouble in running possible. Salute can then finish tailed off, and enjoy the subsequent drop in handicap rating. Next enter him in tip top condition in a lower class event and hopefully enjoy the first dirt win!

    The other thing that crossed my mind was maybe he is unsuited by the dirt surface? After all he is 0/14 on dirt, whereas he has won on turf.

    #80187
    Ultimate Nightmare
    Member
    • Total Posts 326

    Mug, you are in favour of cheating, what the point of a system that benefits cheats. This is supposed to be a sport? With your obvious mindset(agreed by many many others i will admit)prevails racing will continue to stagnate.:angry:

    #80188
    yeats
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3085

    Quote: from cormack15 on 4:41 pm on Oct. 17, 2006[br]

    The handicappers job, in theory, is to rate all horses in such a way that they all have the same winning chance. In reality the mindset seems to be to try to stop any of them winning.<br>

    Don’t both things equal the same cormack? as long as all horses are treated the same.<br>If the theory is to have all horses finish in a line, how  could horses well beaten by Salute at Wolves be expected to do that with him if he remained on the same mark?

    #80189
    nore
    Member
    • Total Posts 151

    A pound or three here and there is irrelevant if the horse can continue to race in the same class.

    #80190
    apracing
    Participant
    • Total Posts 3236

    <br>He’s running on dirt because although he hasn’t won on it, he seems to enjoy racing on Polytrack and it helps to keep him sweet for his runs on turf.

    Last summer he got jarred up at Epsom and completely lost interest in racing for a few months. It took a few runs on Polytrack to get his confidence back. At this stage of the season, there aren’t many options on turf so the Polytrack races provide a useful alternative and he has picked up quite a bit of place money already this season.

    Yeats,

    You obviously agree with the official system which regards the last run as all important and doesn’t consider the overall profile of the horse. Fair enough, we can agree to differ. I’d be in favour of that system if only it applied in both directions, but it usually takes more than one bad race to reverse the effect of one good race.

    Nore,

    I tend to agree that a pound or two either way shouldn’t matter – it’s the principle of raising the rating of a fully exposed serial loser I find hard to accept.

    AP

    #80191
    Artemis
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1736

    I agree AP.

    The sensible thing to do would have been to regard Salute as the ‘marker’ for the race – it’s obvious to anyone that he cannot improve(exceed his best previous rating) at his age on turf or AW. Perhaps if he went jumping he might improve as his technique gets better justifying a steady rise. It’s a nonsense.

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