Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/01/adam-wedge-banned-exter-steering-hot-favourite-report-to-base-round-fence-horse-racing
• Phil Smith resists Irish owner’s call to publish ratings
• Michael O’Leary withdraws best horses from Grand National
The senior handicapper has mounted a robust defence of the weights given to Irish horses when they run in Britain, insisting “there is no semblance of any anti-Irish bias”. Phil Smith made his statement at an media event here to promote the Cheltenham Festival in a fortnight’s time, when he also resisted an Irish owner’s call to publish the ratings which Smith and his team keep for Irish horses.
Smith argued that Irish raiders still enjoy a disproportionate amount of success at the Festival despite his team’s policy of generating a new rating for each Irish-based horse rather than simply accepting the Irish handicapper’s figure. “Just concentrating on here in the Festival, there’s been 11 Festivals where we’ve kept our own ratings,” he said. “The British strike-rate has been 4% and the Irish strike-rate has been 6.2%. So if anybody could have a complaint it would be the guys here, not the people over the Irish Sea.”
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/01/noel-fehily-replace-barry-geraghty-buveur-dair-champion-hurdle-cheltenham-festival-horse-racing