Early publication of two-year-old ratings
Royal Ascot is obviously a huge week in the two-year-old season but the period immediately after that is also significant this year, writes Graeme Smith.
Going hand-in-hand with the new rules for nursery qualification and following consultation with the Racing Group, we at the BHA decided at the start of the year to publish the full list of two-year-old ratings before entries are made for the first nursery, which will take place at Haydock on Thursday 6th July. Entries for the race will close on Friday 30th June, so I plan to publish the ratings file in full on Tuesday 27th June.
It may seem strange to think that the first month of nurseries in the past has gone by without official ratings being made public. The reasons for that are that none of the early nurseries have rating bands attached to their conditions (eg 0-75, 0-90 etc) in the hope of drawing the most competitive field possible, and that ratings for two-year-olds at that time of year are particularly fluid. For example, a horse may be rated 75 after posting his best effort when second in a novice event, but if several of the horses he’d run against post figures significantly higher or lower on their next appearance he could have his rating changed dramatically without having run again.
Such movements can be unpopular with trainers and are, unfortunately, common place with two-year-olds in early summer as the various formlines are put to the test on handicap terms. However, in the spirit of transparency and openness we feel it is appropriate to put our data in the public domain and simply ask for owners and trainers to be understanding while normal processes are run to bed the file down.
Having official handicap ratings in the public domain should benefit owners, trainers, punters and media alike. It goes hand-in-hand with BHA policy of openness and transparency and we believe it shows our commitment to respond to stakeholders’ needs.