Declan Rix

Declan Rix reflects on last week's York Ebor Festival, particularly the performance of Logician in the Great Voltigeur Stakes while also criticising Enable's new official rating of 128.

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SHADES OF CRACKSMAN ABOUT GREAT VOLTIGEUR WINNER LOGICIAN

Trained by John Gosden. By Frankel. With the size and physique to keep on getting better, all on top of announcing himself at York in the Group 2 Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Cracksman by Logician’s victory on the opening day of York’s Ebor Festival.

His ready 1¾ lengths defeat of my ante-post St Leger fancy Constantinople impressed me, with the pair pulling over seven lengths clear of the rest, and John Gosden may well have another middle-distance star on his hands, because this form looks rock-solid and reliable.  

Rock-solid and reliable are possibly not words one would use to describe the runner-up in the heat of battle, but Constantinople has a high level of ability and given how readily he was put in his place by the galloping grey, I think we are dealing with a horse of huge potential.

At this time, I have Logician running to 116, a fantastic level for a horse winning a Group 2 having just his fourth career start. The son of Frankel made his successful debut back in mid-May at Newbury and three runs later, without a juvenile effort posted, remains unbeaten, a Group 2 winner and highly progressive.

When you factor in the numbers of his ability and race wins, you see a horse on a steep upward trajectory. But when you factor in his size and scope into those numbers, I think you are allowed to get a little excited with the potential.  

Logician’s pedigree further cocoons my feelings. Obviously, by Frankel, who needs little introduction, it is the grey’s dam Scuffle that took more investigating. A three-time winner for Roger Charlton from 2007-09 who was officially rated 100 at her peak, Scuffle herself is a half-sister to the top-class pair of Cityscape and Bated Breath.

The Great Voltigeur winner is her fifth foal and now her best, Logician usurping multiple Grade 3-winning mare Suffused for that family honour. The Khalid Abdullah-owned and Juddmonte Farms-bred colt’s next step will be fascinating.

Logician and Frankie Dettori
Declan was impressed by Logician in the Great Voltigeur

The Great Voltigeur has long been a solid trial for the St Leger (1m6.5f) at Doncaster and should Logician go to Town Moor he would have an outstanding chance on ability, but it remains to be seen if that extra stamina test would show him off to his best.

The three-year-old is a fairly nice traveller with a high cruising speed, but do not let his robust size suggest he is devoid of closing pace, because he’s not even remotely lacking in speed. While you couldn’t say Logician has a turn of foot per se, he looks to have the ability to maintain decent closing sectionals and has a relentless look to him, just like Cracksman.

Factoring in all the speed on the dam’s side of his family, along with the above, it remains to be seen how Logician would cope with the Leger test. Fundamentally, he is good enough to win the St Leger, but as we all know, the best horse doesn’t always claim victory in racing.

While the Leger is highly likely to be his next race, I wouldn’t rule out connections running him in the Prix Niel. If the owners same Enable wasn’t going for her third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, I think Logician would be going that route with a possible shot at the Arc.

Either way, this is a nice horse and I look forward to seeing him out again. It's only potential at the moment, but he excites me.

FARCICAL BHA ENABLE NUDGE MAY ROB BATTAASH OF WORLD TITLE

Over the course of last week’s Ebor Festival at York, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) were releasing the figures of their Handicappers from some of the week’s big races. The day after Enable (128) won the Yorkshire Oaks, we were told her new performance figure. The day after Battaash (127) won the Nunthorpe Stakes, we were given his new figure.

While it’s great the BHA were so quick to release these (if indeed you are interested in them) I can’t help but feel the new rating given to Enable of 128 embarrasses the BHA handicappers, in a move that later in the season may rob Battaash of a Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings (LWBRR) accolade.  

I find it totally perplexing how any handicapper could rate Enable’s 2¾ defeat of Magical in the Yorkshire Oaks higher than her neck defeat of Crystal Ocean in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In black and white, maybe yes, but that’s only if you believe in Magical’s official rating of 122, which I don’t. For a start.


Magical’s rating aside, did the BHA handicappers not watch the Yorkshire Oaks thoroughly? Did they not see Ryan Moore on Magical gift Frankie Dettori on Enable five lengths in the opening couple of furlongs? All done so off a sedate Group 1 pace where Enable was basically allowed to control a slow tempo without any pressure and be in the best tactical advantage?

Even worse, was the fact that Ryan Moore eased down his tired mount in the closing stages which surely flattered Enable’s final winning margin? Are these really the conditions under which a horse achieves big ratings, in what was a glorified serious piece of work for both the winner and runner-up? I really don’t think so.

Finally, a factor that I would consider where Magical is concerned, is last week was her first run in 47 days having had five runs from mid-April to the first week of June. There is no doubt in my mind that Aidan O’Brien has backed off his horse with the aim of peaking her for the Irish Champion Stakes and/or the Arc.

The BHA handicappers have assumed Magical has run right up to her very best, and I just can’t agree. This nudge of 2lb from Enable’s King George victory clearly reeks of the BHA handicappers trying to get what is Europe’s most-loved equine athlete to the top of the world rankings, but this simply wasn’t the performance to do so with.

If they chose to give Enable 128 after her King George masterclass, I don’t think anyone in the world would complain, but giving her 128 for last week’s Yorkshire Oaks success stinks of emotional and/or poor handicapping.

With the career Enable has had and the joy she has already given race fans around the globe this season, does she deserve to be top of the rankings? I would say yes, no doubt, but that’s not how they work, horses need to earn their respective positions.

What this now all means, is Battaash’s monster performance in the Nunthorpe Stakes where he broke the great Dayjur’s course record in a 3¾ lengths success, and properly earned his 127 rating, could miss out on the LWBRR award, as it stands.

It must be said; all these ratings need to be ratified by the LWBRR committee at the end of the year and it will be interesting to see if Enable’s performance gets passed the committee. If it does, and no horse for the rest of the year improves passed Enable, one wonders how connections of Battaash will feel?

I totally get this subject may not appeal to other people, but for me, it is important and handicapping top-class horses is something I enjoy. As we go through the generations as race fans in trying to compare the greats, who was the best etc, ratings can help in giving us an answer.

Declan Rix
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