Jack Milner: As a rule, an Assessment Plate favours the best-handicapped runners but there are occasions, when you have a fast-improving youngster, that you have to assume the handicappers have not got close to some sort of realistic merit rating.
That looks to be the case in Race 4 at the Vaal on Thursday, when Lady Lexington will be lining up to take on some talented fillies and mares over 1200m.
Ouro is the best-weighted runner and had this been a handicap she would have been giving the second-best handicapped runner, Dancing Queen, 1.5kg.
In the case of Lady Lexington, she would be 7.5kg better off so on paper, the Alec Laird-trained runner should have little chance of beating the more established Ouro.
However, Lady Lexington has only run twice. On debut she found massive betting support and was backed in from an opening call of 16-1 to go off at 9-2. She found talented Vida Es Bella too good on that occasion, eventually beaten 4.35 lengths into third place.
One month later she contested a 1200m race at the Vaal and was backed in from 22-10 to start at 3-4. This time there were no mistakes and she ran away from her opposition to beat Florence by four lengths.
What makes that run so impressive is that the runner-up came out in her next start to beat Superfine by 7.60 lengths.
It is apparent that Lady Lexington’s merit rating of 74 is not an accurate assessment of her ability and she could prove that point in this event. Raymond Danielson takes the ride once again.
Another runner who could be better than her rating is Heaven’s Reward from the Lucky Houdalakis yard.
She won her first two starts and then contested the Grade 2 Debutante at Greyville in July in which she finished ninth. She has only raced twice since but last time ran a 2.40-length fourth behind the very promising filly Blossom.
That was over 1400m and this drop in trip should suit her. It is also worth noting that Gavin Lerena has taken the ride.
Dancing Queen started odds-on favourite in her last start despite not having raced for five months but she did not kick on and ended up a 2.20-length fourth behind Casual Wear. She should improve with the run under her belt and needs to be included in all bets.
Apprentice Dennis Schwarz, who has done well on this filly, takes the ride again.
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