For a horse to be raised 21 pounds in the weights on the strength of a race it didn’t win entitles the owners to wonder what is going on. That’s what has happened to Mad Moose, and it has both his owner and trainer in a bit of a tizzy.
Mad Moose is a horse that has sometimes lived up to his name when racing over the jumps. He ran second to Sprinter Sacre in January in the Victor Chandler Chase, but decided he was not going to join in the fun at Cheltenham or Aintree.
That was enough for the Middleham Park Racing team to send him flat racing, and he took to the new code like a duck to water, winning a maiden at Doncaster last month, after which he was given a rating of 79. He ran off that mark in the Group 3 Ormonde stakes at Chester last week, and came home second, beaten nine lengths by Mount Athos, who was rated on 117.
That’s a big gap in ratings, and Tom Palin, client relations manager for Middleham Park Racing expected a hike, but not as much as handicapper Stephen Hindle imposed. Palin said, “I can’t believe it. This is a jumps horse who is now rated over 100 on the flat. It’s crazy.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who trains Mad Moose, was frustrated; as the new rating of 100 rules Mad Moose out of the race he had in mind. He said, “It is a bit disappointing because we wanted to go for the Ascot Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot, but we can’t because he is rated too high.” The Ascot Stakes is for horses rated 0-95.
Now, Mad Moose will go for a Listed race at York in ten days time, and then try for the flat calendar’s longest race of the year, the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The huge hike came about as a result of the subsequent performances of some of the horses beaten in that Doncaster maiden as well as Mad Moose’s own run in the Ormonde, as Phil Smith, head of handicapping at the British Horseracing Authority explained. He said, "Mad Moose is a talented jumper who is going to be rated 151 in the Anglo-Irish classifications. Looking at his maiden win, the second has finished runner-up in the Lingfield Derby Trial, and the third, Seamless, ran well in a Goodwood maiden last week, so if Mad Moose hadn’t run at Chester, he would be on 89 now. The third in the Ormonde is rated 96 so he had to be ahead of him.”