Local hero Scales Of Justice has been given a helping hand from RWWA Handicapper Ian Malpass after he was dropped 1 point for his close-up third in the G2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
Scales Of Justice was given 57.5 kg for his Railway Stakes defence at Ascot on November 25, following the reassessment by Malpass.
The Lindsey Smith trained gelding was dropped from 112 to 111 after he was beaten a head and neck, behind Silverstream and Great Shot on Saturday.
Smith revealed post-race that he may have missed Scales Of Justice in his training and he would strip fitter for the Railway Stakes.
The move by Malpass appears to be almost unprecedented.
In 2013 Luckygray finished fourth in the Lee Steere Stakes beaten a length by Conservatorium, Checkpoint and Ranger.
The popular grey gelding was rated 112 going into the Lee Steere and remained unchanged following the race, carrying 58kg to victory in the 2013 renewal of the Railway Stakes.
The connections of Silverstream would also be a little uneasy with the 6-point penalty handed down to the Adam Durrant trained mare.
Finding precedents for mares winning the Lee Steere Stakes and their subsequent penalties is somewhat easier with Perfect Reflection, Magnifisio and Grasspatch Girl all past winners in the ratings era.
Perfect Reflection received 4 points from 100 to 104, Magnifisio 3 points 103-106 and Grasspatch Girl +3 from 105 to 108.
It appears the handicapper has wanted to try and level the gap between Silverstream and Scales Of Justice but with the expected improvement from Scales Of Justice it appears he has gone too far in his best endeavours.
“No that’s not the case” Malpass told SBM. “What I’m trying to achieve is to level up the weight difference between Its Somewhat and Scales Of Justice from the Rupert Clarke Stakes.”
In the Rupert Clarke Stakes, Scales Of Justice carried 2 kg less than Its Somewhat and beat it home 1.25 lengths.
Under the original handicap, Scales of Justice would’ve carried only .5 kg less and Malpass theorized that that advantage should be at least 1 kg.
Even allowing the good fortune shown to Scales Of Justice it will take a miraculous training performance from Smith to win back to back Railway Stakes with Scales Of Justice.
Last year he won the RJ Peters Stakes, improving off a rating of 84 to 91 officially. That figure could have been as high as 95. He was weighted on the minimum of 53kg and ran to 108 in the Railway Stakes or as high as 112 with his win by 2 ¾ lengths over Good Project.
This year he must carry an extra 4.5 kg with his rating in the Lee Steere around the 100 level.
His performances are heading one way but his handicap the other.
It will take the genius of L Smith to turn this around and with only 14 days to do it he faces a monumental race against time.
Just like the Melbourne Cup we detect a punting advantage here with the favourite looking a lay and good value to be found elsewhere.
Keep logging on to SBM for pre-race information for this year’s The Masters feature races.