The NHA Handicappers have reported back on their assessment of last weekend’s feature races.
Winter Derby (Grade 3)
DHARMA has seen his rating increased from 71 to 89 after he clearly benefitted from a step up in distance and won the Grade 3 Winter Derby over 2400m at Kenilworth on Saturday 29 June.
This was the first time that DHARMA had raced beyond 2000m and he saw out the extra 400m in the manner of a true staying type.
In assessing the race, it was felt that 5th placed PARADE MARCH was the correct line horse to use, given that he has plenty of consistent handicap form over distances of 2400m and 2500m.
A rather cautious approach was adopted as most of the runners (the line horse excepted) were untried over a distance such as 2400m before the Winter Derby.
The handicappers opted to give DHARMA a rating of 89 to make him one pound higher than the runner-up NEXUS, whom he beat at level weights by half-a-length and who remains unchanged on 88.
Third placed MAJESTIC MOZART was given a slight drop from 102 to 101, while HERODOTUS was dropped from 101 to 99. The Handicappers are aware that both horses suffered interference in running (twice, in the case of MAJESTIC MOZART) and it is stressed that both horses have only been dropped to the levels they actually achieved in their previous start in the Winter Classic on 25 May.
In the only other change, 4th placed CELESTIAL PRINCE went up from 73 to 80.
Ladies Mile (Listed)
PLATINUM CLASS remains unchanged on a rating of 98 after her win in the Listed Ladies Mile over 1600m at Kenilworth on Saturday. Here, the winner was used as the line horse, which effectively makes runner-up SHAMROCK WIND a line horse as well as she runs to her rating of 91. Accordingly, her rating also remains unchanged.
Third placed PEARL JAM goes up from 75 to 77, but fourth placed DYNAMIC DIANA remains unchanged on 100.
Numerous drops were made to the ratings of unplaced horses. MISS KATALIN goes from 94 to 91, ROYAL FROST drops from 89 to 87, RED GINGER was cut from 91 to 88, ONTENDERHOOKS goes from 82 to 80, and INTOTHELIMELIGHT drops from 89 to 88.
Winter Oaks (Listed)
DUCHESS OF BOURBON remains unchanged on a rating of 91 after she won the Listed Winter Oaks over 2200m at Kenilworth on Saturday.
This was an awkward race to assess, with several fillies (including the first two) racing over a distance at least 400m further than anything they had previously attempted and it was decided to use the winner as the line horse even though she had never previously been beyond 1600m.
Runner-up FORTUNE FLIES clearly relished going beyond 1800m for the first time and was beaten half-a-length by DUCHESS OF BOURBON at level weights. Accordingly, her rating was increased from 79 to 90 (or one pound below the winner.)
Third placed HEAVEN’S EMBRACE was upped from 77 to 81, while the only drops were to JE NE SAIS QUOI (who goes from 73 to 70), and CORAL BAY (who drops to 84 from 86.)