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The handicappers have awarded Grade 1 Daily News 2000 winner Safe Passage (Silvano) a 122 merit rating.

As things stand this means the Mike de Kock-trained gelding will carry 54kg in the Hollywoodbets Durban July and will have to give the rest of the three-year-old males 1kg.

There were a number of factors which contributed to the handicapper’s decision.

Pomp And Power, in his only run against older horses in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, actually ran to a merit rating of 124.

However, the handicappers were reluctant to raise him. 

Three-year-olds often run to high ratings in early season weight for age contests because of the high weight for age allowance. 

However, they often fail to make the subsequent wfa improvement.

Furthermore, Pomp And Power had only finished fifth in the LQP.
 
In the subsequent Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby Pomp And Power beat fourth-placed Senso Unico by 6,25  lengths.

However, an inkling that they had underrated Pomp And Power’s performance in that race was that Senso Unico ran to a 110 in the recent Grade 2 WSB Guineas.

He remained on his 104 merit rating though, because he had only finished tenth.

Senso Unico then repeated his Cape Derby performance on Saturday by finishing a 6,15 length fifth in the Daily News.

The handicappers thus felt justified to use both the 118 merit rated Pomp And Power and 104 merit rated Senso Unico as line horses to rate Safe Passage, although in the latter case they used the 110 rating Senso Unico had achieved in the WSB Guineas.

It is two points per length over 2000m and Safe Passage beat Pomp And Power by just over two lengths and Senso Unico by just over six lengths.

118 + 4 = 122 and 110 + 12 = 122.

Safe Passage remains the 7/2 Hollywoodbets Durban July favourite with the sponsor and Pomp And Power is at 6/1.

A decision is yet to be made about Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 winner, the Justin Snaith-trained Silver Darling’s, immediate future.

However, an article looking at Drakenstein’s behind the scenes workings which have enabled them to rise to such heights this season will be published tomorrow and include more detail.   

Picture: Safe Passage (Candiese Lenferna)