HANDICAPPING RATINGS UPDATE

• Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup (Handicap) - (Grade 1)

ZILLZAAL has had his rating increased from 114 to 120 after he led virtually throughout to win the Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein (standside track) on Saturday 30 November. Runner-up SOQRAT was used as the line horse when assessing the race, but ZILLZAAL was 1.5 kgs under sufferance at the weights and also carried 0.5 kg overweight on top of that, so a six-pound increase in his rating actually amounts to the minimum possible raise. SOQRAT’S rating, of course, remains unchanged.

Third placed AL MUTAWAKEL was fully 14 pounds under sufferance and accordingly goes up by that amount from 103 to 117, while fourth placed QUEEN SUPREME (who was 10 pounds under sufferance) goes up from 110 to 117.

The only other raise was to GREEN HAZE, who goes up from 107 to 111, but numerous horses were given a drop in ratings. ROY HAD ENOUGH goes from 116 to 115, CAMPHORATUS was trimmed from 118 to 116, TILBURY FORT also goes from 118 to 116, DIVINE ODYSSEY drops from 117 to 116, INSIGNIS drops from 112 to 110, SHENANIGANS goes from 107 to 106, and INFAMOUS FOX was cut from 119 to 117.

• TAB/Betting World Dingaans - (Grade 2)

SHANGO has seen his rating jump from 95 to 120 after he ran out an emphatic winner of the Grade 2 TAB/Betting World Dingaans for three-year-olds over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday. There was no reason to believe that runner-up FROSTED GOLD had run below his rating of 114, and he accordingly was used as the line horse. As such, his rating remains unchanged.

There is nothing unusual about later-developing three-year-olds making major improvement at around this time of the year and the handicappers saw no reason not to take SHANGO’S impressive performance at face value.

Third placed COCKNEY PRIDE remains unchanged on 110, but fourth finisher BATTLE OF ALESIA was upped from 94 to 108. Other changes were to the ratings of JOHN HANCOCK, who goes up from 99 to 101, to DONDERWEER, who is up from 95 to 100, and to ASTRIX, who was raised from 103 to 104. This makes ASTRIX equal to PROMISEOFAMASTER, who finished behind ASTRIX here and who was also beaten by ASTRIX in a graduation plate back in September. It was felt that this entitles ASTRIX to a rating which is at least equal to PROMISEOFAMASTER’S.

• New Turf Carriers Merchants (Handicap) - (Grade 2)

MARDI GRAS has had his rating increased from 116 to 124 after he returned from an absence of over six months to run out a very easy winner of the Grade 2 New Turf carriers Merchants over 1160m at Turffontein on Saturday. The handicappers felt that fourth placed ULTRA MAGNUS would not have run worse in a race of this stature than his rating which was earned in off-season KwaZulu-Natal races and used him as the line horse, which naturally means that his rating remains unchanged on 107.

Runner-up WARRIOR’S REST goes up from 110 to 113, while third placed VAN HALEN was raised from 122 to 124.

Two horses were given a drop in ratings, with CLEVER GUY going from 112 to 110 and VALBONNE from 108 to 106.

• WSB Ipi Tombe Challenge - (Grade 2)

RONNIE’S CANDY has had her rating raised from 112 to 115 after she ran out a comfortable winner of the Grade 2 Ipi Tombe Challenge for fillies and mares over the Turffontein 1600m on Saturday. In rating the race this way, runner-up IN THE DANCE, third placed WISTERIA WALK and fourth placed PERFECT TIGRESS all run to their ratings, effectively making line horses out of all three of them.

The winner aside, the only change made to the rating of any horse here was to ROY’S RIVIERA, who was trimmed from 109 to 108.

• Magnolia Handicap - (Grade 3)

TRUE TO LIFE has had her rating increased from 107 to 117 after she ran out a very easy winner of the Magnolia Handicap for fillies and mares over 1160m at Turffontein on Saturday. Fourth placed POOL PARTY was used as the line horse, so her rating remains on 102, however runner-up DANCING QUEEN was raised from 101 to 104 and third placed SARAH goes up from 118 to 119.

Several horses were given a drop in their ratings. GREEN PLAINS is down from 111 to 108, DESERT RHYTHM drops from 104 to 102, Cape Town challenger LESEDI LA RONA drops from 99 to 97, and DALAI’S PROMISE goes from 102 to 100.

• Racing Association Handicap - (Listed)

BONDIBLUE has had her rating increased from 97 to 100 after she landed the Listed Racing Association Handicap over 3200m at Turffontein on Saturday. Here, the Handicappers felt that third placed FACTOR FIFTY made for the correct line horse, and as such her rating remains unchanged on 99, but runner-up ALI BON DUBAI was raised from 105 to 107.

Only two horses were given a ratings’ drop, with FLICHITY BY FARR goes from 102 to 100, and NOBLE SECRET dropping from 111 to 110. Given the paucity of races over this sort of distance the handicappers were reluctant to make too many widespread changes to the ratings of any of the runners.