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Shamrock Thoroughbreds (Owner) Handicapping Appeal – Dream Today

The Handicapping Appeals Body, Mr. Ken Bredin (in the chair), Mr. William Flood and Mr. Anthony Byrne convened on Thursday, 11th August 2022 to consider the Appeal of Mr. Stephen Thorne of Shamrock Thoroughbreds (Owner) in relation to the handicapping of Dream Today.

The committee considered the appeal of Mr. Thorne and submissions from Mr. Garry O’Gorman, IHRB Senior Flat Handicapper.

In lodging the appeal, Mr. Thorne submitted that there is no reason for any difference between the rating of Dream Today on the Turf or All-Weather. He suggested that Dream Today should also have an All-Weather mark that is no higher than 80 and said that the horse has not shown any particular aptitude for one surface over another, and that it is arguable that his best runs have in fact been on Turf. He suggests that horse is now in decline and no longer capable of performing to a mark in the mid-80s on either surface and that this is due to his advancing years rather than the surface he is racing on.

In his submissions, Mr. O’Gorman explained that Dream Today performed to a mark of 98 when he last raced on the All-Weather. In that regard the collateral form of that race has held up. In 2022 the horse’s performances on Turf have been regressive; however it remains to be seen whether this regression is permanent or simply a temporary loss of form. However, Dream Today has not competed on the All-Weather and he argues that until such time as he does it would be unconscionable to drop him below his last winning All-Weather rating. He added that Dream Today’s current rating represents a 6lb reduction from his last performance on the All-Weather.

Having considered the evidence, the Handicapping Appeals Committee issued the following decision:

It is not in dispute that the Handicapper is entitled to issue and maintain separate handicap ratings for the Turf and All-Weather.   

The reduction in Dream Today’s Turf rating to 80 reflects a series of what have been described as regressive performances on Turf in 2022. The Handicapper states that this is a recent development in the context of his overall career, and that he has not come to a definitive conclusion on whether this regression is permanent or temporary. The Committee agrees that the evidence is not yet definitive on this point.

Whilst there has been a lesser reduction of Dream Today’s All-Weather rating to 92, the Handicapper states that he cannot agree to a further reduction until such time as Dream Today races on the All-Weather and demonstrates that there is a similar regression on this surface. The Handicapper concedes that he may have to drop Dream Today’s All-Weather rating quickly and by a significant amount if it is demonstrated that the horse’s regression in form has continued and is equally applicable to the All-Weather.

The Committee considers that the approach of the Handicapper is justified and that the All-Weather rating he has currently allocated to Dream Today is fair, particularly in view of the concession noted in the paragraph above. In this regard the Committee is particularly mindful that Dream Today won off a rating of 92 on the All-Weather less than eight months ago, performed to a mark of 98 in doing so, and has not since raced on the All-Weather.

The Appeal is therefore dismissed.

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