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Posted 2019-01-07 10:24:43  
Merit Rating Analysis

FINAL MERIT RATING ANALYSIS – KENILWORTH RACECOURSE - SATURDAY 5 JANUARY 2019 – GRADE 1’s

 

L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (WFA) Grade 1 – Race 7

 

Following a comprehensive discussion between the NHA Handicapping panel consisting of Messrs Lennon Maharaj, Matthew Lips and Vee Moodley, DO IT AGAIN has seen his Merit Rating increased from 120 to 125, in the wake of his victory in an exceptional renewal of the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth on Saturday. The 2018 Vodacom Durban July winner showed both his versatility and his class when collaring sole three-year-old SOQRAT in the shadows of the post to land what was widely billed as one of the highest average MR Group 1 and the Handicappers are perfectly satisfied that the four-year-old is worthy of his new status as the highest rated horse in South Africa.

 

The Handicappers assessed the Queen’s Plate on the basis that LEGAL EAGLE and UNDERCOVER AGENT confirmed exactly their form out of the Green Point Stakes, and that UNDERCOVER AGENT and SNOWDANCE almost exactly replicated their form out of the Rising Sun Gold Challenge which was run at Greyville last June.

 

There is every reason to believe that DO IT AGAIN could have improved five pounds on what he showed when beaten a short head by LEGAL EAGLE in the four-way photo finish to the Green Point Stakes. DO IT AGAIN was making his seasonal debut on that occasion, having not raced since winning the Vodacom Durban July, whereas all three of those around him had run (and won) at least once in the current season. There seems no doubt that DO IT AGAIN stepped up on his Green Point Stakes performance to win the Queen’s Plate against arguably the best field of milers assembled for a race in South Africa in many years.

 

As a result of the Queen’s Plate, SOQRAT’s rating has been increased to 124. The Cape Guineas winner came into the Queen’s Plate previously unbeaten from two starts over 1600m – both of them at Grade 1 level. The runner-up out of the Cape Guineas, TWIST OF FATE, easily won the Grade 3 BMW Politician Stakes on Queen’s Plate day to also underline the strength of the Guineas form. SOQRAT is a progressive three-year-old who looks full value for his 124 rating after only losing the Queen’s Plate in the dying strides.

 

RAINBOW BRIDGE also appears to have stepped up considerably on his Green Point Stakes run and his rating has been increased to 119. In the Queen’s Plate he met DO IT AGAIN, LEGAL EAGLE and UNDERCOVER AGENT on 2 kgs worse terms than in the Green Point, yet was able to reverse form with two of them easily. There is every reason to believe that RAINBOW BRIDGE performed better in the Queen’s Plate than in the Green Point, where he ran to 116 despite appearing unsuited to the slow early pace and generally not having a great deal go his way. A mark of 119 for him looks perfectly reasonable and confirms his place as a progressive and highly capable emerging force on the scene.

 

Other changes following from the Queen’s Plate are LEGAL EAGLE dropping from 123 to 121, HAT PUNTANO drops from 112 to 109, and INFAMOUS FOX’S rating has been cut from 103 to 101. These drops are more indicative of the two horses’ deteriorating form in recent starts and are not directly linked to their performances in the Queen’s Plate, where HAT PUNTANO was the subject of a veterinary check after his Jockey reported that he felt something amiss with the Argentine-bred import.

 

Cartier Paddock Stakes (WFA) (Grade 1) – Race 6

 

There were fewer significant rating changes following the day’s other Grade 1 race, the Cartier Paddock Stakes for fillies and mares over 1800m. The Handicappers feel confident that the highly consistent 3rd placed CASCAPEDIA is the correct line horse for the race and accordingly have rated the race to a level of 118. However, the winner OH SUSANNA’S rating remains unchanged on 121. Runner-up LADY IN BLACK’S rating has been upped from 108 to 117, while 4th placed FRESNAYE goes up from 104 to 110 and 5th placed SECOND REQUEST has seen her rating raised from 101 to 104. SECRET REQUEST ran to a rating of 108 and was effectively given a half way increase.

 

The rating of the runners that were reduced were HASHTAGYOLO (from 104 to 101) and ELUSIVE HEART, who drops to 100 from 103. The balance of the field remains unchanged.

 

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