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Vermaak responds to appeal criticism

Pietro Mascagni wins his Maiden. (JC Photos)
Pietro Mascagni wins his Maiden. (JC Photos)

I generally find public spats quite juvenile and leave them to waste away in the recycle bin of life, but I feel in this case that the public should be afforded a more rounded view of the Pietro Mascagni merit rating appeal (I was one of three members sitting on the Appeal Board) as covered on the Sporting Post website and not the one sided barrage afforded to them currently.

Unfortunately what is written/typed in print is often taken as fact without any type of fact checking done, one would hope the media house concerned would be taking care of this but drama is obviously higher up on the list, more clicks.

FACTS ARE IMPORTANT:

The recent article claims the proposed line horse KING OF THE DELTA was beaten 9 lengths or 18lbs. This would be true if the race in question was run over 1600m, which it was not, it was run over 1160m which means KING OF THE DELTA was beaten 21lbs, this in turn affects the levels achieved more severely. Mr Bloomberg is one of the most versed experts in this field so this could be nothing more than an oversight but one would hope fact checking would be done to avoid misleading the public in any way. In fact every mathematical measurement for the rest of his article is a false representation as the wrong margins are used as examples.

THE RACE IN QUESTION:

The whole level of the race revolves around the proposed line horse KING OF THE DELTA. According to Mr Bloomberg and others, he should have been used off his MR77 as the horse to evaluate the race of concern.

Using the correct margins and not the ones used in the recent article/piece this means the handicappers and subsequently the panel had to choose between the following two options of line horses:

1) KING OF THE DELTA to MR77: In his last start (6 weeks before) he was not persevered with and the jockey reported he was not striding out, he achieved his MR77 when 2nd only 2.10 lengths behind YAMOTO. Is he running that same mark now finishing 9 lengths behind PIETRO MASCAGNI?

This selection leaves the first three running as follows:

PIETRO MASCAGNI MR98
SQUARE THE CIRCLE MR98
STAR OF JOBURG MR91

Record levels for a maiden plate it must be said, guidelines and limits apart this level can simply not be right.

2) STAR OF JOBURG to MR70: He achieved this on debut in 3rd 1.65 behind THE TIN MAN, where he was heavily supported and was expected to run a very good race. He now runs 3rd again now 3.25 lengths behind PIETRO MASCAGNI. On paper and face value a very similar run.

This selection leaves the first three running as follows:

PIETRO MASCAGNI MR77
SQUARE THE CIRCLE MR77
STAR OF JOBURG MR70

Now here is the problem with this particular race, the first bunch of horses are relatively unexposed and the rest are beaten a long way, it is severely lacking another appropriate line horse to try and raise the level, it is likely that STAR OF JOBURG has improved, but has he improved 21 pounds to be running a MR91? The handicappers have identified this and despite PIETRO MASCAGNI achieving MR77, they have allocated him an extra kilo and rated him a MR79.

As well, plenty has been made of KING OF THE DELTA when recently running second, this seems to be a classic case of “selective retention” but conveniently nobody is referring to BRAVE GITANO. Behind PIETRO MASCAGNI, KING OF THE DELTA defeats BRAVE GITANO by only ONE length, in the latest run he defeats BRAVE GITANO by NINE lengths. Further indication KING OF THE DELTA has run below his high of MR77 behind PIETRO MASCAGNI.

BRAVE GITANO was 5th beaten 10.25 behind PIETRO MASCAGNI and 7th beaten 11.25 behind DHABYAAN, two very similar runs.

Contrary to popular belief, the handicappers and the appeal members are not vegetables, I think it is very obvious to see that PIETRO MASCAGNI and the placed runners are above there ratings in true ability, but this was one of those races that didn’t throw up an alternative line horse that could have made the race a better “fit” unless of course you believe the front three are running 98/98/91 in a Maiden Plate!

Unfortunately PIETRO MASCAGNI has come out low and is a “victim” of the circumstances of the race and he will no doubt go on to prove a higher rating against higher quality of opposition later on.

As mentioned earlier, the handicappers have identified this and given the horse an extra two pounds, the panel also identified this in the press release which gives a fair understanding. To imply that the handicappers and panel believe the horses are moderate because of their current ratings is wrong.

With regard to this point , it is important to add for perspective of the matter that over the last 12 months the handicappers have been strongly encouraged to “err on the side of caution” by the handicapping committee when rating young horses and afford them opportunity to “win through the divisions” to the point where Mr Bloomberg correctly stated that an appeal was upheld against them a fortnight ago for rating The Sun Also Rises MR83 for not doing so.

It is amazing to see the sudden turnaround in this opinion from some of the committee members who sent me what can only be described as hate mail, after the appeal (no this does not include Mr De Kock).

I am sure if the handicappers had the horses running to 98/98/91 and another connection objected they would have been mocked from all corners for giving maidens such high ratings (guideline or limits irrelevant) and the objection was upheld.

I think the above presents a rounded view on the matter and I hope PIETRO MASCAGNI and the runners up go on to do well for their connections. This is my final say on the matter, using all the information at hand. I don’t think it is necessary to respond to any quite frankly pathetic allegations from anyone.

PS: As for the personal insults and comments from various people post appeal, even someone as young, arrogant and with as much to learn as me left that behind in the sandpit in primary school.

I believe that the appeal result has been appealed again and is to be heard in due course. If the result is changed and seen in a different light by another panel, so be it.