The official ratings have been announced today for performances at the Cheltenham Festival, and they confirm that it was another memorable year for ratings. Imperial Commander came out on top with a rating of 185, with the three ‘B’s – Big Buck’s, Big Zeb and Binocular –rated 174, 174 and 173 respectively.
Phil Smith, BHA Head of Handicapping, explained the rating of 185 for Imperial Commander, saying:
“In the early years of this century the Cheltenham Gold Cup was always a notoriously difficult race to rate. It was often slowly run and every year it seemed that a good Handicapper ran way above itself to finish in the money. I am thinking of the likes of Commanche Court, Harbour Pilot, Truckers Tavern and Sir Rembrandt. Inevitably the proximity of these horses limited the rating I could give to the winners.
“Over the last three years that has not been the case. There has generally been a good pace to the race and the very good horses have come clear of the good handicappers. Denman, ably assisted this year by the gallant Carruthers, has seen to that. As a result the class animals have put distance between themselves and the rest of the field and it has been possible to get high ratings for the winners.
“This year it seemed to me fairly straightforward to get Imperial Commander to 185. Carruthers is mighty consistent and I have him performing to 155 on three occasions now this season. As a result Imperial Commander who beat him 30 lengths gets to 185.
“I have Denman performing to 178, a few pounds off his best but I have left his rating on 182. For now I have left Kauto Star on 193 from the King George but I guess there will be some discussion of that in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification Conference in May.”
To read more about these ratings, those for other races and the rationale behind them, visit:
Phil Smith, Head of Handicapping’s Blog: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/goracing/blogs/default.asp
Weekly Handicappers’ Blog Cheltenham Special: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/goracing/blogs/handicappers.asp