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Picture: Litigation was given a  maximum six point raise for winning the Victory Moon Stakes and no merit rated raises could be given to the placed horses – an example of the merit rating restrictions put into the conditions of races by the operators.


NHA Press Release

The NHA Handicapping Panel is cautioning all stakeholders, especially the Betting Public, to be extremely careful when using the Carded Merit Ratings in their assessments. Due to the vast number of ‘conditions’ type races, together with a host of conditions attached to the Graded races (mainly on the Highveld), many of the ratings that are published do not reflect the Handicapper’s final assessment of those horses affected by these conditions. This issue is especially affecting the current 3yo crop as they are unexposed and open to improvement. As per the previous press release, the best weighted column on form guides may not always be an accurate guide and extreme caution must be exercised. On that basis, the Handicappers shall not be responsible or participate in the selecting of final fields and eliminations in oversubscribed Pattern (Graded and Listed) races on the Highveld.  

To rate a race, a line or key horse/s are identified by the Handicappers. Every runner in a race produces a performance figure or RMR (Race Merit Rating) relative to the line horse that is selected. The weights carried, WFA scale, margins between the runners and to the line horse are used to calculate the RMR number which the Handicappers use as a tool in making assessments. Factors such as the horse’s overall profile, pace, weather and underfoot conditions as well as interference in running etc., are considered before a final rating by the Panel is applied and becomes official. In conditions races, where runners cannot be adjusted upwards, the latter exercise is consequently not done. Accordingly, the Handicappers reserve the right in using a line horse’s previous RMR or performance figure and not always the Carded Merit Rating as a guide to rate a race as in many cases, as explained above, the Carded Merit Rating may be constrained by the arbitrary ratings restriction mentioned above.  The NHA receive numerous calls from astute stakeholders as to what rating the team would apply if there were no restrictions.  This practice could be deemed to be “insider trading” and the Handicappers will cease to divulge any information pertaining to requests of this nature and similar.