New Frankel Handicap Rating Angers Racing Greats

January 16, 2013

New Frankel Handicap Rating Angers Racing Greats

Unbeaten galloper Frankel has been rated higher than any other horse in history in a move that has evoked anger from members of the racing world.

The retired stallion was awarded a 2012 World Thoroughbred Ranking of 140, while star horses from previous eras have had their scores downgraded.

The downgrading of top rated Dancing Brave and Shergar appears to have been done in order to allow Frankel to possess the highest ranking in history.

Dancing Brave was relegated to a rating of 138 from his previously awarded 141, while Sherger dropped four points to 136.

The former jockey of Shergar, Walter Swinburn, felt the downgrading of previous ratings was unjust and unnecessary.

“I find the whole thing baffling. Trying to rewrite history is not the way to go,” Swinburn said.

“They could have made this simple and given Frankel a higher rating if needed and left the others where they were.

“I find it all rather bizarre, dropping a horse 4lb from 30 years ago. I don’t really understand it.”

Swinburn believes it comes down to the current hype surrounding Frankel and his unbeaten campaign.

“Everyone is on a Frankel high and obviously the handicappers still are,” he said.

“I’m sure everyone has been swept along with that.”

However, senior handicapper Phil Smith feels that the change was necessary in order to make up for the fact that ratings were elevated shortly after the system’s conception.

“To fiddle it just to get Frankel on a higher mark would be wrong. This wasn’t an exercise to make him the best horse,” he said.

“We thought it was best to be honest and say the system has changed, the methodology is different.

“A whole host of horses have been readjusted so, with reasonable certainty, we can compare horses from different generations.”

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