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A Shin Hikari Margin In Dispute

Chantilly winner A Shin Hikari, Japanese raider winning margin in dispute by Nigel Gray and others.

A Shin Hikari Margin In Dispute

The number one Thoroughbred racing handicapper in the world has asked for a “please explain” from France Galop in the wake of the supposed 10 length victory by Japanese raider A Shin Hikari in last week’s Prix d’Ispahan (1800m) at Chantilly

A Shin Hikari
A Shin Hikari Picture:Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association

Nigel Gray, chairman of handicappers at the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, has written to his colleague in France seeking a clarification on the winning margin in the early-season Group One, with video evidence strongly suggesting A Shin Hikari didn’t win by 10 lengths at all.

At stake is the right to be named the top horse in the world at the present time, a position currently held by British five-year-old Postponed, who has not been beaten in four starts subsequent to his third placing at Royal Ascot last year. And the idea that any horse can get to the top of the world rankings on the basis of a falsely inflated winning margin is not sitting well with many racing professionals around the world.


Racing Management Asia, an independent Hong Kong-based horse racing consultancy, raised the issue the day after the Prix d’Ispahan, when their analysts declared the margin “closer to seven lengths than 10”.

“We have already changed the margins in our database,” said RMA director Shane Clarke. “When we attempted to rate the race at the published margins, it made no sense at all. A Shin Hikari’s rating was impossibly large, and the ratings of the second and third horses (Dariyan and Silverwave) were too light.

“Once we checked the video, we finally understood what was going on. We recalibrated the race with a seven length margin between first and second (Dariyan) and now everything makes logical sense.”

Clarke said, after auditing the margins, A Shin Hikari had run a rating that would equate to 127 on the accepted international scale. “He was first-up since December, and this rating is a real threshold --- it’s very rare for horses to achieve a 127, let alone first-up in a lead-up race to their major goal at Royal Ascot,” he said.

“But if you go and add another three lengths to that performance, as France Galop is asking everyone to do, then A Shin Hikari’s rating becomes just too high.”

Gray is playing the diplomatic game, having sent off a formal request seeking a confirming opinion, with hopefully a review and possible correction. Almost a week down the track, there has been no response from France Galop.

“My own view, having studied the video, is that the margin is more like eight lengths,” Gray continued. “And even timing the race, off the video, it’s difficult to come up with anything that mighty equate to 10 lengths.”

Gray said mainstream racing bodies should be publishing the official final times for all finishers, which would serve as a valuable analytical back-up to the judge’s official margins.

“(those times)… could then be converted into traditional margins in lengths,” he explained. “If that information were readily and widely available, as it is in Hong Kong, we could all make our assessments based on the facts of the result.”

Gary Crispe, the Australian representative of the Timeform , quoted the organisation’s post-race update from its European analysts.

A Shin Hikari Horseform, who has now won ten of his 12 career starts, ran to a Timeform rating of 133 at Chantilly, bringing him clear of the current highest rated horse in Europe, Postponed, who is rated 130 by Timeform,” the report said.

“A Shin Hikari had previously only been raced on good or good to firm going, but the soft ground at Chantilly was clearly no issue for him.”

Timeform concluded: “A Shin Hikari is now a general 2/1 chance for the Prince of Wales's Stakes, and if able to reproduce his Prix d'Ispahan form, will be the one to beat.”

Shane Clarke said A Shin Hikari is the “real deal”. “Our ratings have him going the equivalent of 126 when he led throughout in the Hong Kong Cup in December, and now he’s run 127 first-up in France. By comparison, our best rating for Postponed is 122, though it has to be said he’s very solid at that figure and therefore capable of something better.”

• Murray Bell is an award-winning journalist of more than 40 years’ standing. He was formerly chief racing writer at the Daily Telegraph in Sydney and racing editor at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He has appeared as an expert commentator on television and/or radio in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Murray has been an occasional columnist at Racing & Sports since 1999. He is a co-director of Racing Management Asia Limited in Hong Kong.

Ends

Racing And Sports



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96323
R5 CHANTILLY 24 May 2016
PRIX D'ISPAHAN 4U , 1800m
FP
 
Horse
Age & Sex
Trainer
Jockey
WT
SP
 
1st  
3. A SHIN HIKARI (JPN)
6yo H
M SAKAGUCHI
YUTAKA TAKE
58.0
$8.00
 
DEEP IMPACT (JPN) - CATALINA (USA)
Eishindo Co. Ltd.
2nd  
2. DARIYAN (FR)
5yo H
A DE ROYER DUPRE
C SOUMILLON
58.0
$5.00
 
SHAMARDAL (USA) - DARYAKANA (FR)
H H AGA KHAN
3rd  
6. SILVERWAVE (FR)
5yo H
P BARY
MAXIME GUYON
58.0
$11.00
 
SILVER FROST (IRE) - MISS BIO (FR)
 HSPIRIT
4th  5. VADAMOS (FR)
6yo H
A FABRE
PIERRE-CHARLES BOUDOT
58.0
$5.00
5th  8. MY DREAM BOAT (IRE)
5yo H
C G COX
GERALD MOSSE
58.0
$10.00
6th  1. NEW BAY (GB)
5yo H
A FABRE
VINCENT CHEMINAUD
58.0
$3.00
7th  4. MONDIALISTE (IRE)
7yo H
D O'MEARA
D TUDHOPE
58.0
$46.00
8th  9. WILD CHIEF (GER)
6yo H
J HIRSCHBERGER
A PIETSCH
58.0
$35.00
9th  7. ERUPT (IRE)
5yo H
F-H GRAFFARD
S PASQUIER
58.0
$21.00


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