Dregs of Class Five are still hanging around
We hope the handicapping department had a nice summer break because now it's back to business and that means plenty of questions about the smoke and mirrors of their dark arts during the months ahead. And we are starting with a change in Class Five policy, which seems to have slipped under the radar.
Perhaps it is the extra five meetings and the necessity for more horses to fill fields, but the time honoured annual clean-up of the dregs of Class Five seems to have gone by the board.
Not so long ago, horses which finished the season with a rating of 28 found themselves compulsorily retired, unless they were second-season horses thrown a lifeline for reasons of inexperience. Then the cut-off mark slipped down to the mid-20s but now it seems to have been dropped to, well, zero.
In three meetings we have already had the likes of five-year-old Descartes (20), six-year-old Classa (23), seven-year-olds Noble Twins (21) and Sunny Smiles (20) and the eight-year-old Simply Joy (22) - none of them having their first or even second time around the block.
Don't get us wrong, those horses are quite capable of finding a race to win at that level, and we'd even like to see the return of Class Six as it is the lowest grades that seem to provide the value results these days. But it does seem like it has become tougher to get off the list of active horses these days than to get onto it.