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THE BHA HANDICAPPERS

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Frankel comes home in splendid isolation in the Sussex Stakes

Frankel: recorded sixth 130+ performance with superb Sussex Stakes win

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

Glorious Frankel still on 140 after Sussex romp

Whilst the majority of the nation were glued to the world's finest human athletes doing battle in and around London, those that turned up at Goodwood last Wednesday were able to pay their respects to the finest equine athlete on the planet and, once again, he didn't let them down, writes Dominic Gardiner-Hill.

With upwards of 18lb in hand of his three opponents (including trusty pacemaker Bullet Train) it was always likely that the Qipco Sussex Stakes would prove little more than a leg stretch across the Downs for Frankel and so it proved.

To my eyes Tom Queally held on to Frankel just a little longer this time and he did no more than necessary in notching an easy six-length success - I have used third-placed Gabrial, reproducing his St James's Palace figure of 108 as a guide to the level of the race, suggesting that Eclipse runner-up Farhh  (122 pre-race) has failed to reproduce his Sandown effort in running to 115 and Frankel has run to 131+, having taken the view that he was value for at least an eight-length success.

This means there is no change to his official mark of 140 but he can add a sixth 130+ performance to his CV while his average Group 1-winning distance now stands at exactly five lengths - stunning statistics

As mile handicapper, I now have to accept the strong possibility that I may not get the chance to evaluate Frankel again as he will move up to 1m2f for the Juddmonte International Stakes and a likely crack at the Champion Stakes - both of which fall in to head of handicapping Phil Smith's distance category.

I think it is a step up that Frankel needs to make and maybe, just maybe, a demolition job of the best ten-furlong horses Europe can throw at him might see his 140 rise even further!

I have been suggesting at various points during the summer that the crown of champion three-year-old filly at a mile was an open contest with nobody really taking the division by the scruff.

Having produced a strong candidate in Coronation heroine Fallen For You (117), John Gosden topped that when Elusive Kate landed the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville last Sunday.

It is always fascinating when the generations start to meet in the second half of the season and Elusive Kate stepped up on her 115 reappearance second in the Falmouth with a 119 performance to beat high-quality four-year-old Golden Lilac in France. She now looks the one to beat for the rest of the year.

STAYING POWER

With Stephen Hindle having headed south to show his support to Team GB's weightlifters, I was left with some informative staying events to assess, writes Graeme Smith.

The most high-profile of them was the Artemis Goodwood Cup, in which Saddler's Rock gained revenge on Colour Vision for his Ascot defeat, turning the tables as the pair again finished first and third.

The time was a relatively slow one, however, and the false gallop meant neither was able to run up to their pre-race mark as the field returned bunched.

I don't for a second doubt that Saddler's Rock and Colour Vision are worth their marks of 115 and 117 but the proximity of Askar Tau (up 1lb to 111) and several others rated below 110 meant their performances worked out at 112 and 114 - with Colour Vision again emerging as the better horse under a 4lb penalty for his Gold Cup success.

Hot on the heels of the Goodwood Cup was the iShares Lillie Langtry Stakes for fillies and mares.

Henry Cecil's Wild Coco went four places better than she'd managed behind Meeznah in last year's renewal in authoritative fashion and retains her rating of 113.

I got her performance on the day to be 2lb shy of that level, however, with the gallop again to blame for the principal's failure to drop the also-rans by quite so far as ratings suggested.

The French filly, Jehannedarc, was completely unexposed beyond 1m4f and I have her improving some 13lb to a figure of 107 over this extra quarter mile as she ran on from well back into second.

It will be no surprise if she improves further still given just how poorly placed she was early in the straight - perhaps a result of both her and her rider's lack of experience on Goodwood's idiosyncratic track.

The Queen's filly, Estimate, may well have lost second in the dying strides but this looks another improvement from her and she emerges as the second-best filly on the day under her 3lb penalty for winning the Queen's Vase.

The most talked-about performance from the staying ranks at Goodwood seemed to come in the final day's Toyo Tires Performance Handicap over 1m6f, with Motivado leaping to the head of the ante-post market for the Betfred Ebor following a most-authoritative five-length success.

Sir Mark Prescott's four-year-old picks up a 4lb penalty for the York showpiece in three weeks' time and, assuming that's enough to get him in the race, will therefore be 6lb well in compared to his new mark of 103 following a 10lb rise.

OUR TWO YEAR OLD HANDICAPPER ON HIS NEED TO SHED TWO THOUSAND POUNDS!

I must confess that I have a weight problem. I am about half a pound too heavy. This will come as a surprise to friends who think I am much fatter than that. Let me explain, writes Matthew Tester.

With the two-year-old ratings, you begin every year with a blank sheet of paper. As I start drawing the map, there are certain statistical tools to make sure that I am being consistent.

Of course, there will be years with exceptional horses and years with none.

But the pattern of ratings for all horses should be similar year on year. So should the averages and medians. If you have strange spikes in the ratings or unusual data for the average horse then something needs looking at.

The weather has made it the toughest of years in which to get a handle on the ratings.

And the problem is that the average of my figures for all performances is about half a pound overweight. This may not sound like much. But bear in mind that there have been about almost 4,000 two-year-old performances so far, which means that I need to shed two thousand pounds!

Looking at the distribution, there are definitely too many colts in the band 76-80 and too few in the band 91-95. The fillies do not look too bad.

But the gap between the average handicap mark of colts and fillies is a little high at 6.25lb.

Trainers can therefore expect a higher than usual number of collateral adjustments in the coming weeks as I work to get myself into shape.

The blog appears courtesy of britishhorseracing.com

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