Things We Learned » Weight matters

Weight matters

Quiz time. The John Murphy-trained Goldplated, winner of the finale at Leopardstown on Saturday, the 12-furlong Fillies’ Premier Handicap, had a rating of 74 going into the race, which would have left her 8lb out of the handicap, given that, as a three-year-old, she was entitled to receive 9lb from the older fillies.

However, she won a handicap at Galway the previous Monday, for which she was rewarded with a 5lb penalty. As against that, her rider, Marc Monaghan, with just two previous winners on the board, was entitled to claim 10lb. If the minimum weight for the race was 8st 4lb, what weight did Goldplated actually carry?

A. 8st 4lb B. 7st 8lb C. 7st 5lb D. 7st E. None of the above

Incidentally, it was an impressive performance. She picked up nicely after getting a little outpaced on the run around the home turn, and she won well in a really good time, the second fastest comparative time of the day, faster than the time that So You Think clocked in winning the Irish Champion Stakes a half an hour earlier, all out. She is most progressive, Saturday’s win was her fourth win in five runs in 11 weeks, and she obviously takes her racing well.

She did run in Thursday’s Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster, but that race came up very quickly, five days after Leopardstown, which was itself just five days after her Galway win. Also, even her revised mark of 91, 17lb higher than her Galway mark, left her by far the lowest-rated filly in the race, some 22lb inferior to the top-rated filly Meeznah. The daughter of Selkirk remains a filly of considerable interest.

7st 8lb, by the way. B. Six marks.

Jockey change

You have to feel for Richard Kingscote, jocked off Brown Panther for today’s St Leger in favour of Kieren Fallon. Of course, Fallon is a top class rider, a big-race rider, he is riding as well as ever this season, and it is not his fault. Also, it is obviously the owner and the trainer’s prerogative to decide who rides their horses. However, Kingscote has ridden Brown Panther in all seven of his races to date, he is a talented rider, he knows the horse intimately, and it is far from certain that Brown Panther’s chance of victory today has been enhanced as a result of the switch. Hopefully loyalty values from soccer – the hollow badge-kissing, etcetera – do not seep in to racing.

Hooray Hujaylea

The Michael Halford-trained Hujaylea put up his best performance for some time, possibly the best performance of his 45-race career, to finish second behind British raider Below Zero in the Tote September Handicap at Leopardstown on Saturday.

Well out the back in the early stages, as is his wont, it looked like he was in an impossible position as they straightened up for home. Yet he and Shane Foley found gaps in places where even the places weren’t obvious to take second place. He was never going to catch the winner, but the winner had the run of the race from the front, and was probably a really well-handicapped horse, as a 10lb hike suggests.

Hujaylea himself has been burdened with another 4lb, which leaves him on a mark of 109, which looks harsh for a horse who has gone 12 months and 15 races without a win. That said, this run suggests that he is in the form of his life and, strange for an eight-year-old, he could progress again for the easier autumn ground now, as he did last year. He is the type of horse who is often under-rated and therefore over-priced, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

Hoof that

It wouldn’t have been good had Dream Ahead been disqualified after passing the post first in last Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup in favour of Bated Breath or Hoof It, despite the fact that he caused at least a little interference to both of his closest pursuers, and that he got home by the width of a losing betting slip and the same. With almost all bookmakers paying double result, they would have had to have paid out on the favourite and the joint second favourite in the featured televised race on a Saturday had the result been amended, and that wouldn’t have been any good for the much-maligned Levy.

Tom Best

You would have to travel a long way to find the person who would say a bad word about Tom Burke, and that person has never been to Ireland.

Burke is racing’s gentleman. Since the time that he joined the Racing Board in 1969, through his spells with Tipperary and Navan, and his role with Leopardstown for the last quarter of a century, the last five years as general manager, he seems to have succeeded in carrying out a top class job, integrity-lined, without managing to annoy too many people.

Fitting that Tom’s last meeting at Leopardstown’s helm last Saturday should have been as successful as it was. Best wishes Tom, your retirement is well earned.

© The Irish Field, 10th September 2011