Hawwaam’s Merit Rating has been left unchanged by the handicapping team at the National Horseracing Authority following the colt’s stunninjg victory in the Premier’s Champions Challenge on Saturday.
In a press release, they said:
• The Premier’s Champion Challenge (Grade 1)
HAWWAAM’s rating of 121 remains unchanged in the wake of the three-year-old’s comprehensive defeat of older rivals in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday, 4 May 2019. The Handicappers were unanimous in their belief that runner-up CASCAPEDIA was the correct line horse to use in rating the race and as such her rating also remains untouched on 107. HAWWAAM ran to a 120 using this method to rate the race, but again the Handicappers were united in their belief that he should retain the 121 rating he took into the race, which marked the first time he had ventured outside of his own age group in feature race company.
Third placed DIVINE ODYSSEY continues his rich vein of recent form and the Handicappers had no hesitation in raising his rating from 105 to the achieved 111, whereas in contrast fourth placed LEGAL EAGLE was given a small drop from 118 to 116. Fifth placed DARK MOON RISING went up from 105 to 106, but no changes were made to any of the others in the 13 runner field.
• The Computaform Sprint (Grade 1 )
PACIFIC TRADER’s rating was increased from 112 to 115 after he nabbed the flying filly PRINCESS REBEL in the last stride to win the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint over 1000m. Here, it was felt by all the Handicappers that third placed CHIMICHURI RUN was the appropriate line horse to use, so his rating remains unchanged while PRINCESS REBEL was raised from 107 to her achieved 109.
Fourth placed QUINLAN gives all the indications of being a 1000m “specialist” and was raised from 105 to 111 (which keeps him in line with SEARCH PARTY, who finished 0.30 lengths behind him and who remains on 110), while fifth placed PALACE CHAPEL goes up from 99 to 108.
In other changes, SPEEDPOINT was dropped from 114 to 111, REBEL’S CHAMP goes down from 114 to 112, last year’s winner ATTENBOROUGH was trimmed from 107 to 106, and BULL VALLEY was dropped from 116 to 113 despite finishing lame as per the Veterinary Surgeon’s report. This report notwithstanding, it was felt that some adjustment needed to be made to BULL VALLEY’s rating and he was essentially dropped for the time being to a mark which is one pound lower than that of the race winner.
• Gerald Rosenberg Stakes (Grade 2)
RETURN FLIGHT’s rating was upped from 106 to 109 after Gauteng’s stand-out three-year-old filly of the season led virtually throughout to win the Grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes for fillies and mares over 2000m. RETURN FLIGHT had won the SA Oaks at her most recent start and it was 2018 Oaks winner SECRET POTION who was used as the line horse, which naturally means that her rating remains unchanged on 102.
Runner-up INSIGNIS was raised from 90 to 102 and would thus meet both RETURN FLIGHT and SECRET POTION on the correct terms if they were to clash in a handicap race. This adjustment also confirms the strength of the Jacaranda Handicap which has subsequently produced the winner of the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes CAMPHORATUS (105) and interestingly they would now meet on identical handicap term. Fourth placed PRETTY BORDER came into the race rated 80, and while she runs to a 99 the Handicappers took her overall record into consideration and effectively gave her half the achieved adjustment and gave her a rating of 90.
In other changes, FRESNAYE dropped from 108 to 104, GHAALLA was cut from 100 to 97, and JET START was trimmed from 95 to 94.
• Camellia Stakes (Grade 2)
SCHIPPERS had her rating upped from 99 to 107 after she ran out a very easy winner of the Grade 2 Camellia Stakes for fillies and mares over 1160m at Turffontein. Here, it was the Handicappers’ opinion that fifth placed SAN FERMIN was unlikely to have run below her rating of 96 and accordingly she was used as the line horse.
Runner-up MIGHTY HIGH remains unchanged on 107, while third placed GREEN PLAINS was dropped from 107 to 105 in the belief that she deserves to be rated a little lower than the two that beat her here. Fourth placed PRETTY PENNY goes up from 90 to 92, while sixth placed COMANECI had her rating increased from 87 to 89 so that would not be a marked discrepancy between her and PRETTY PENNY if they were to meet in a handicap race.
In other changes, FREDERICO’S DREAM was dropped from 99 to 95, EXQUISITE TOUCH was cut from 99 to 96, COVERED IN SNOW goes from 93 to 90, and DESERT RHYTHM drops to 92 from 94.
• The Gold Bowl (Grade 3)
SUNSHINE SILK seems to have matured into Gauteng’s predominant stayer and has seen her rating upped from 90 to 95 in the wake of her success on handicap terms in the Grade 3 Gold Bowl over 3200m. Here, third placed TIRZAN was used as the line horse, but in view of the 0.50 kg overweight which he carried his rating was increased from 80 to 81, while runner-up DROMEDARIS was upped from 83 to 87.
Fourth placed BONDIBLU came into the race 5kgs under sufferance and was accordingly raised from 69 to her achieved rating of 79 after finishing within a nose of the line horse. The only other changes were drops for STORM WARNING (who goes from 76 to 74) and TOP SHOT, who was trimmed from 85 to a mark of 83. This seems more in keeping with his overall recent form over shorter distances.
• Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes (Grade 2)
UNDERCOVER AGENT’s rating of 120 remains unchanged after he set the pace and dug down deep to win the Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m at Greyville on Friday night, 3 May. The Handicappers were of the opinion that the ultra-consistent winner was the right line horse to use in assessing the race and for the time being are content to have UNDERCOVER AGENT rated lower than Grade 1 Sun Met winner RAINBOW BRIDGE which finished strongly to run second and considering that the Sun Met is run over a 2000m the Handicappers are comfortable to leave RAINBOW BRIDGE unchanged on 124 which he earned in the intermediate distance category (1900m – 2100m).
Third placed CIRILLO was also unchanged and remains on 114, but fourth finisher LADY IN BLACK was dropped from 117 to 112. Seventh placed INFAMOUS FOX was raised from 103 to 106 and was effectively given a half adjustment as he does in fact run to 109, but in rating him this way he would at least meet sixth placed ZOUAVES on the correct terms in a handicap race.
The only other change was to SAND AND SEA, whose rating was dropped from 105 to 103.
• KRA Fillies Guineas (Grade 2)
SANTA CLARA’s rating was raised from 103 to 112 after she ran out an easy winner of the KRA Fillies Guineas over 1600m at Greyville. Here, third placed TEMPLE GRAFIN and fifth placed RUNNING BRAVE were used as the joint line horses and as such their ratings remains unchanged.
SANTA CLARA in fact runs to 115 rating the race this way, but she was comfortably held by runner-up FRONT AND CENTRE (rated 112) during the Cape Town season and it was considered appropriate that they be rated as equals for the time being. The Handicappers took into account that FRONT AND CENTRE had the worst of the draw, that she was running on stoutly at the finish, and that she had not raced since late January, whereas SANTA CLARA enjoyed the benefit of having had a recent run at Greyville. Accordingly, it was felt that it would be fair to rate them as equals for now.
NAFAAYES and CELTIC SEA appear to have confirmed their recent Gauteng form and were dropped from 106 each to 104 and 103 respectively, whereas MOON IN JUNE was upped from 77 to 86 and WAITING FOR CHANGE goes up from 78 to 81. In this way, these two would meet on essentially the correct terms in a handicap race, and there was no reason for MOON IN JUNE to emerge from the race rated lower than WAITING FOR CHANGE after beating the latter by 2.70 lengths.
• KRA Guineas (Grade 2)
TWIST OF FATE has seen his rating increased from 115 to 117 after he finished his race off really well to win the Grade 2 KRA Guineas over 1600m at Greyville on Friday. Runner-up NATIONAL PARK appeared to have every possible chance before being run out of it in the closing stages and was considered to be the right choice of line horse, but for the time being the Handicappers opted to keep TWIST OF FATE the equal of the runner-up. In this way, TWIST OF FATE is not rated higher than ONE WORLD, who twice beat him during the Cape Town season. We are happy for the time being to have all three horses rated as equals.
Third placed BUNKER HUNT looks highly progressive and saw his rating upped from 100 to 112, but fourth placed SOQRAT was dropped to 121 from 124 even though he found himself trying to make up a great deal of ground from the back of the field, courtesy of his wide draw. He is clearly much better than this, and the Handicappers are content to have him rated higher than the trio who beat him here.
Fifth placed THANKSGIVING was raised from 97 to 106, while sixth finisher CHIJMES goes up from 97 to 105. These are only partial adjustments, in any event. Similarly, APPROACH CONTROL was upped from 92 to 94 to make him the equal of TRISTFUL, who finished one place behind him. No other changes were made.
• Poinsettia Stakes (Grade 3)
FREEDOM CHARTER’s rating was increased from 99 to 104 after she comfortably won the Grade 3 Poinsettia Stakes for fillies and mares over 1200m at Greyville on Friday. Sixth placed JUNIPER BERRY and seventh placed TOWNSHIP MELODY were both used as line horses and as such both remain unchanged.
Runner-up ELUSIVE HEART goes up from 100 to 102, a mark which she achieved when finishing fifth in a Pinnacle Stakes won by SNOWDANCE at Kenilworth back in December. It was considered unlikely that she would have run worse than that in finishing second in a Grade 3 event.
Third placed SUGAR GIRL was raised from 93 to 98 so that she is at least the equal of fifth finisher ANIME, who finished 0.80 lengths further behind at level weights. In other changes, NEPTUNE’S RAIN was dropped to 105 from 108, INVERROCHE was trimmed from 97 to 94, VISION TO KILL drops from 97 to 95, and ISINGAMOYA is also down to 95 from 97.