Zapatillas (Crawford Racing)
Zapatillas was scratched this morning (Wednesday) from the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
Last year he was scratched after the announcement of the final field, which allowed Airways Law to get a run, but this year he is reportedly avoiding the July in favour of a tilt at the Gr 1 Hong Kong World Pool Champions Cup.
Zapatillas was raised from 122 to 126 after finishing third in Saturday’s Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge, just 3,10 lengths behind the superstar 132 merit rated Charles Dickens.
That made him the topweight at the time.
Crawford had probably timed his scratching for Wednesday with the publication of the weights in mind, not knowing that Trip Of Fortune would be supplemented to become the new topweight at the time of the publication of the weights on Tuesday.
The next highest net merit rating at the beginning of the week was 123.
Had Crawford scratched then and 123 had been the highest net merit rating at the time of the publication of the weights, then the Crawford-trained Winchester Mansion off 112 would have had to carry 54.5kg and the Justin Snaith-trained Pacaya off 110 would have had to carry 53.5kg.
However, with Zapatillas off 126 as topweight both of those horses would have been set 53kg, with Pacaya being 1kg under sufferance.
Crawford would not have wanted to disadvantage his horse by scratching before the publication of the weights.
Furthermore, had the weight structure been done on a highest 123 net merit rating the top three-year-olds would have been very well treated indeed.
Instead of, for example, See It Again only getting 1,5kg from Safe Passage as would have been the case had Zapatillas been the topweight, he would have got 3kg from Safe Passage due to the three-year-old 57kg maximum weight clause. On the other end See It Again would have only given Winchester Mansion 2,5kg instead of 4kg.
Crawford would have had that disadvantage for Winchester Mansion in mind too.
Incidentally, had the weights been done on Zapatillas and he had later been scratched, See It Again would have had to carry 58,5kg. Although the relative weights would have been the same as before the scratching, it is perceived by some racing stalwarts that it is harder for a three-year-old to give weight away carrying a big weight than giving the same weight away carrying a lighter weight.
So Trip Of Fortune’s supplementing can well be viewed as a Godsend for the three-year-olds.
With Trip Of Fortune in, both Winchester Mansion and Pacaya will carry 53kg and See It Again carries 56.5kg. Winchester Mansion is only 0,5kg under sufferance.