THE BHA HANDICAPPERS
Weblog: View from the team behind the official ratings
Bated Breath (left) set a new track record in the 5f Temple StakesPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Bated Breath shows his class over minimum trip
The most prestigious 5f race of the season so far, the Group 2 Temple Stakes, was run at Haydock on Saturday and it looked a decent renewal, writes Chris Nash.
Bated Breath beat Sole Power by a neck with a further three and a half lengths back to Spirit Quartz and Borderlescott. The winner went into the race as the highest rated on a mark of 118 which he achieved when placing in both the July Cup and the Haydock Park (Betfred) Sprint last year.
Both of those races were over 6f but he showed on Saturday that he does not lack for pace over the minimum trip as he set a new track record time. The second is a solid performer over 5f on quick ground having won the 2010 Nunthorpe and the 2011 Temple in such conditions. He ran to 115 when winning this race last year and arrived here with that same rating intact. I have no reason to believe that he hasn’t run the same race again.
As a result I have the winner running to 116 – a shade below his very best form but a very decent figure for his first start of the year. This level also fits really well with the third and fourth who arrived rated 106 and 105 respectively and in finishing only a head apart would both have run very close to their official marks.
The winner may well stick to 5f next time out with the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot mentioned as his likeliest next race, thereby avoiding a clash with Black Caviar who is probably to be seen in the 6f Diamond Jubilee at the Royal meeting.
One would imagine that Sole Power would also show up in the King’s Stand and provide one of the biggest threats to Bated Breath again.
A FEAST OF EUROPEAN STAYING LISTED RACES
There were three staying division Listed races in three separate countries during our last handicapping week, writes Stephen Hindle.
The first of them was in Ireland, Navan’s Vintage Crop Stakes which saw the return to action of none other than Fame And Glory, who was winning the race for the second year in succession.
Much like in 2011, Fame And Glory prevailed by a fairly narrow margin, scoring by a neck this time around having won by half a length twelve months earlier. While I did have Fame And Glory running a few pounds below his best, this was by no means a shaky return to action for the Gold Cup winner as he was giving 10lb to the second, Unaccompanied, a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and successful in Listed company on the Flat.
At the line Fame And Glory appeared to have a bit in hand with the 1m6f trip possibly a little on the short side nowadays. I went with a performance figure of 116. Which is 4lbs. lower than the one I credited him with in the 2011 Gold Cup.
Six days later at York, Cavalryman gained a deserved success in the Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup. Rated 113, Cavalryman clearly retains plenty of his old ability, yet amazingly this was his first victory since the 2009 Prix Niel at Longchamp.
Runner-up Calico Cat confirmed himself a very useful gelding on only his third career start and has now been placed in lofty company twice already. However, it is hard to believe Cavalryman has improved and I eventually went with 111 for him, which tallies with his most recent runs in Dubai and France. I left his official mark on 113 though, as there are also reasons for thinking he could still be up to that level.
Calico Cat is clearly a seriously talented young stayer and goes to 108.
The other Listed race over a staying trip in Europe was in Italy, Caudillo scoring for the second time in similar company at San Siro. Whilst seemingly not quite at the same sort of level as Fame And Glory or Cavalryman, I had Caudillo running to a more than respectable 108.
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