Handicappers' blog

The head handicappers at the BHA review the pick of the recent action from Ascot, Newmarket and Sandown, updating figures concerning some of Britain’s biggest stars.

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Ghaiyyath Eclipses Enable  

The 2020 Coral-Eclipse looked a strong race on paper beforehand and so it proved with Ghaiyyathonce again showing that when he’s good, he’s very good, with the highest rated performance in the world so far this year, writes Dominic Gardiner-Hill.  

In fact, from a handicapping perspective it is an easy race to rate with all bar runner-up Enable (pre-race 128), running either to or very close to their pre-race ratings. Irish challenger Japan (third) stepped up on his reappearance effort at Royal Ascot and returned to the 122 level he achieved in both the Juddmonte International and Arc last season, suggesting that stablemate Magic Wand (fourth) improved a pound on her pre-race 115.  

Japanese mare Deirdre (fifth) was a pound off her best of 115 and Regal Reality (sixth) performed to his current mark of 116. All of this leads to a winning figure of 127 for Ghaiyyath, which puts him 2lb clear of Stradivarius at the top of the current list of the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.  

Connections were expecting Enable to need the run and in running to 119, I have her 3lb below her winning performance in the race last year and 9lb off her current rating of 128.  

Back down at a mile, a new star appeared on the stage in the shape of Mohaather, who made up for his luckless run in the Queen Anne with a convincing success in the Betfred Summer Mile at Ascot on Saturday.  

For me, the key to the race is the performance of fifth-placed Urban Icon who held a decent position throughout and has never been better than 109 in ten previous starts. As such, I have Mohaather running to 120 and putting himself alongside Circus Maximus and Palace Pier at the head of the European milers at present.  

It would be possible to rate the performance higher but to my mind there are a few question marks over those closest to him – runner-up San Donato was having his first run for 14 months and ran just 2lb off his current rating of 114, Duke Of Hazzard (third) was missing the blinkers that had galvanized him last year and was coming off a poor reappearance in the Queen Anne, whilst Lord Glitters (fourth) has now failed to reproduce his Queen Anne winning form of last year in five subsequent starts.  

I am happy with Mohaather on 120 for the moment and he will be a worthy contender for the top mile prizes during the late summer and autumn.

Red Letter Day For Teal And Fallon  

Saturday was a memorable day for trainer Roger Teal and jockey Cieren Fallon as Oxted’s win in the Darley July Cup gave both the trainer and jockey a first success at Group 1 level. Chris Nash assesses the performance.  

The July Cup saw a clash of the two 6f Group 1 winners from Royal Ascot three weeks earlier – Golden Horde had won the Commonwealth Cup for three-year-olds and Hello Youmzain the Diamond Jubilee, and both had been given official ratings of 118 after those victories. They headed the market at 2/1 and 9/2, respectively but neither of them could match the performance of Oxted, who was having his first run at the highest level having skipped the Royal Meeting following his reappearance success in the Abernant.  

Oxted raced handy, led around two furlongs out and got home strongly to record a taking performance and confirm himself a highly progressive sprinter. The Irish-trained Sceptical followed the winner home at a distance of one and a quarter lengths and there was a further neck back to Golden Horde in third, with Khaadem and Hello Youmzain the next two home.   

The last ten winners of the July Cup were given figures between 117 and 122 and applying race standards to this renewal suggests a figure in the range of 119-120 for the winner. I went with 120 for Oxted, not only because this form has a really solid look to it but also because he recorded a highly respectable time on what was officially good ground (good to soft in places).  

The last five renewals of this race had all been run on good to firm ground and his time of 69.59 secs is quicker than that achieved by U S Navy Flag (2018), Harry Angel (2017) and Limato (2016). Oxted had improved on each of his previous three starts (105, 109 & 112) and clearly did so again here. While another substantial step forward next time is probably unlikely, it is still possible that we haven’t yet seen the very best of him given his overall profile.  

This assessment of the race has Sceptical running to his pre-race Irish rating of 116 and then figures of 115 for Golden Horde, 111 for Khaadem and 108 for Hello Youmzain. Those three all ran a bit below their pre-race ratings, but the trio had all run well at Royal Ascot so I left them unchanged after this race at 118, 114 and 118, respectively.  

Handicappers' blog
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