The issue of merit ratings between the sexes comes to the fore again in Race 2 at Turffontein today when Trophy Wife takes on the boys in a Graduation Plate over 1450m on the Inside track.
The Sean Tarry-trained filly comes into the race as the best-weighted runner and is at least 4kg better handicapped than any other runner based on her merit rating. However, once again her entire rating has been calculated against runners of her own sex so one does not know how it will stand up against the colts.
So far the second sex have come off second best and it does appear that overall, the fillies have been overrated by the handicappers. This race will be another test but strangely enough, Trophy Wife does have a couple of other things in her favour.
Firstly, her rating has been based on a number of runs at Grade 1 level. Although she did not win any of them, this daughter of Tiger Ridge finished a 2.50-length third behind Siren’s Call in the SA Fillies Classic, a three-length second behind Majmu in the L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes and a 2.25-length third behind Smart Call in the Woolavington 2000 at Greyville.
The run behind Majmu is significant as Mike de Kock’s charge proved she could beat the colts when second behind Wylie Hall in the Grade 1 President’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein.
Secondly, Trophy Wife has a good record at the course with one win, three seconds and two thirds from six runs. The three seconds and one of the third places were over this distance as well.
Against her is that she has not raced since the Woolavington on 30 May and could be in need of the run. She has also made a habit of being the bridesmaid rather than the bride and that could is a troublesome for those wanting a bet.
She does run well for Raymond Danielson and they will jump from barrier No 1.
The second best weighted runner is stable companion Imperial Gold and he has not been in the best of form of late. However, he was gelded in March and his only run since then, earlier this month, looked promising so there should be some improvement.
Anjaal is next on the list and is out 5.5kg with Trophy Wife. However, he was unplaced in his only run over the course and distance but in fairness it was against a strong field in the Grade 2 Johannesburg Spring Challenge.
Perhaps the biggest danger to Trophy Wife will come from three-year-old Romany Prince who finished just 4.50 lengths behind Muwaary in the Grade Graham Beck Stakes last month.