The Corner with Garry Chittick

We were of course disappointed not to make the Rupert Clarke field. When your horse is three-dollar favourite then the punters, who are not always right, inflate your expectations. Clearly, he didn’t quite have the ratings, after his previous win he was allocated a 98 rating – 99 and he was in. Congratulations to John Bary and his fellow shareholders in Callsign Mav. If we participated or not, it’s always good to see a Kiwi collecting their share of $1m. More importantly, we see our form franked yet again.

Is this an issue? Well, it is when our black type races are scrutinised, as they should be, but I doubt the five of you understand the number of internationally ranked horses taken into account when assessing the merit of any black-type result. I had two years on the Graded Stakes Committee, the pressure was on our two Classics at the time and probably still is. 

However, then the requirements were for two participating horses with an international rating of 115 or more determined by offshore handicappers. If unable to fill this lofty requirement the step down was a minimum of eight participants with an international rating of 110 or more.

The International Graded Stakes graciously gave us a dispensation allowing for our highest rated two being 110, this was then to be a short-term fix, I haven’t asked about current rating requirement but assume our Graded Stakes Committee is not finding the task any easier.

My point today I have commented on before. That is, we understand that for graded stakes to mean what they are intended to mean and for us to be able to say with confidence our best measure up then our truest and fairest measure for us to compete with merit on the east coast of Australia.

When you think about it, who gives a rat’s about anywhere else? Our only other market of consequence is Hong Kong. To them ratings are a very important, after all they are generally buyers of tried horses that they haven’t seen so a measure is important. Having said that, of the 1400 horses they have in work if 400 are rating 85 or better I would be surprised.

Back to Australia. There is no argument our Group performers that travel to Australia rarely disappoint us. Now the horses that don’t make the first four are no different to
similar performers anywhere in the world, horses of quality put up their hand. Apart from our Weight for Age and set weight Classics we have a plethora of handicap races to cater for all classes of horses.

We need to remember how the black type racing was formulated; it was an initiative of the sales companies to enable them to present a measure for buyers that was easily identifiable. So, I am not questioning the merit of the black-type grading, I think it’s great, my point is our best are performing as we would expect, so why judge the race on those unable to keep up? With you five no doubt watching elite racing in Europe, you will be surprised firstly at the field sizes and the spread of the unplaced runners.


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