THE BHA HANDICAPPERS
Weblog: View from the team behind the official ratings
Moonlight Cloud: posted the best sprint performance in Europe this yearPICTURE: ScoopDyga.com
Rivas Rhasody gets reward for consistency
Finally the Olympics are over! My main feeling is disappointment, but a part of me is glad that I can now get back to some sort of normal working schedule, having spent most of the last two weeks working all sorts of bizarre hours to compensate for the time spent watching compelling sport, writes Mark Olley.
The athlete that I was particularly glad won a gold medal was the rower Katherine Grainger in the double sculls. After silver medals in the last three Olympics, she finally went one better and I can imagine that the connections of Rivas Rhapsody must know something of how she feels.
Ian Wood's filly finished second on her first four starts this season, all in handicaps, and her rating has been raised each time.
She went from 71 to 74 after her reappearance at Newbury. She then moved from 74 to 75 after Salisbury, up to 77 after Kempton and then onto 78 after her most recent run at Newmarket. However, this all came good at Yarmouth on Wednesday evening.
Usually a three runner handicap would be straight-forward to assess, but the 7f Moulton Nurseries Fillies Handicap at Yarmouth was complicated by the fact that the second horse, Serene Oasis was due to go up 3lb (from 74 to 77) for a recent close second at Epsom.
After discussing Mick Channon's filly with my colleague Stewart Copeland, who dealt with the recent Epsom race, we agreed that Serene Oasis would only now move up 2lbs to 76 and that as Rivas Rhapsody beat her by a length and three quarters she would move up 5lbs to a new rating of 83.
It is nice to see a horse rewarded for such a consistent record and, given her profile, there must be an excellent chance that she has not finished improving and further success awaits.
CERTIFY LOOKS MAY HILL TYPE
My big race at the weekend was the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, writes Matthew Tester.
As expected, the finish was fought out between Certify - an impressive maiden winner last month - and Sky Lantern - who had been off the track for ten weeks since winning a Listed race in Ireland.
Certify won by a length and I have a rating of 106 for her, Sky Lantern having reproduced my 104 rating for Ireland. But there is good reason to think that each has more to come.
The very slow early pace means that some of the fillies that finished close to them were surely flattered. Sky Lantern has strengthened up well since the spring and did not get an easy passage through the race. Certify raced rather keenly early on but saw the race out really well.
Connections of Certify are planning the same route of May Hill Stakes and then Fillies' Mile which they successfully followed last year with Lyric Of Light. The outcome just could be the same.
GHEEST RESULT DIGESTED
Even though I dealt with an abundance of sprint action in Britain last week, no performance came close to the excellent performance put up by Moonlight Cloud in the Group 1 Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville last Sunday week, writes Stewart Copeland.
Run over the unusual distance of six and a half furlongs, Moonlight Cloud bettered her four-length winning margin in the race last year with an even more emphatic success, bolting up by five lengths from her fellow French four-year-old filly Wizz Kid.
The only British contender, the remarkably consistent six-year-old gelding The Cheka, finished a creditable third, having been promoted from fourth after suffering interference caused by the third past the post American Devil, who was subsequently demoted a place.
Both Wizz Kid, currently rated 110 in France, and The Cheka provide a solid form guide to the level of the race, and that alongside calculating a figure based on the historical standards we keep for the race, it's not too difficult to form the view that this is as good a performance we've seen in the race this millennium.
Both methods point to a rating of 121, a view shared also by the majority of my international handicapping colleagues who have assessed the race.
That means it's the highest-rated sprint performance we've seen so far in Europe this year, just ahead of the 120 by the Hong Kong-trained Little Bridge in the King's Stand and Mayson's 119 in the July Cup, the best British sprint performance at present.
The blog appears courtesy of britishhorseracing.com