Smith defends extra 15lb handed to Down Royal winner
Phil Smith, BHA head of handicapping, has defended the decision of his colleague David Dickinson to lump an extra 15lb on to Rashaan's Irish mark for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month.
Rashaan's trainer Colin Kidd said he was in a "state of shock" after hearing his stable star has been handed a mark of 154 and believes such a figure was "pulled out of the sky".
However, Smith agrees with Dickinson's decision and pointed to the fact that Rashaan beat a pair of subsequent Grade 1 winners in Apple's Jade and Petit Mouchoir when landing the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle at Down Royal in early November.
"I can understand David's decision. He's been looking after the two-mile hurdle division for 15 years now and I have full faith in him. How do we know neither Apple's Jade or Petit Mouchoir were not fit enough to do themselves justice at Down Royal? We don't!" Smith explained.
He added: "The fact of the matter is that Rashaan has beaten two horses who've gone on to win Grade 1s. He's not run again since so we have no evidence that he doesn't deserve the mark we gave him. The trainer could have contacted us to put his case forward before the weights came out but he didn't.
"We've got to take that race at face value and that's what David has done. How would it look if Rashaan ran away with the Betfair Hurdle had we left him on a mark of 139? The British trainers would not be happy."
Upon hearing that Rashaan has received a rating of 154 for the Betfair Hurdle, Kidd said: "We're definitely not running in the race now. I'm in a state of shock. Phil Smith has crucified us. He just pulled that figure out of the sky and it's not fair."