Australian racing’s superstars Black Caviar and So You Think have achieved worldwide acclaim following the release of the 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings (WTR) by the International Federation of Horse Authorities in London on Tuesday night.
Unbeaten Victorian speedster Black Caviar has been officially rated the Champion Sprinter of the World, while So You Think has been rated Equal Champion Intermediate (Middle Distance) Turf Performer of the World alongside Irish star Rip Van Winkle.
In a unique circumstance, So You Think has also been rated the Champion Stayer of the World for his third placing in the Emirates Melbourne Cup in which he carried 56kg as a four-year-old, conceding weight to race winner Americain in the world’s premier staying race.
The 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings take into account all performances throughout the world, irrespective of where individual horses raced or were trained, during the calendar year.
To merit inclusion in the rankings, a horse must have been rated at 115 or above in the period under review.
Of the 329 to make the rankings in 2010, 43 were Australian-trained, whilst a further 10 Australian-bred horses raced abroad with great distinction.
In a landmark year for Australian racing, the Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar and Bart Cummings-trained So You Think both achieved record ratings.
Greg Carpenter, Chairman of the ANZ Classifications Committee and Australia’s representative on the WTR Committee, said the rankings gave cause for celebration.
“The 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings are a wonderful advertisement for the quality of Australia’s racing and breeding industries,” Carpenter said.
“The respect for Australian racing on the world stage can only prosper through the achievements of horses like Black Caviar and So You Think.
“To have the Champion Sprinter, Intermediate and Stayer of the World is an outstanding result and what’s most pleasing is that their record performances came here in Australia during the Spring Racing Carnival, not whilst competing overseas.
“There was fruitful discussion at the World Rankings Conference in Hong Kong about Black Caviar, So You Think and also Hay List and I was pleased to be able to articulate the merits of their performances to the other delegates.”
SO YOU THINK
Dual Tatts Cox Plate winner So You Think was afforded an official rating of 126 making him the highest rated Australian horse since the World Thoroughbred Rankings began in 2002.
The previous Australian record rating of 124 was held jointly by Northerly (2002) and Makybe Diva (2005), with El Segundo (2007) next best on 123.
So You Think achieved his rating of 126 on two occasions in October with runaway weight-for-age victories in the Group 1 Yalumba Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield and the Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
A four-time Group 1 winner in 2010 from just six starts, So You Think will continue his racing career in Europe this year after the four-year-old stallion was purchased by Irish breeding conglomerate Coolmore following his Melbourne Cup placing.
Four-year-old mare Black Caviar achieved a rating of 123 when stretching her unbeaten record to eight with a stunning victory in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington in November.
Her rating was the highest ever by an Australian trained sprinter, eclipsing the 122 rating achieved by both Scenic Blast (2009) and Weekend Hussler (2008) in the two previous years, and led a domination of world sprinting by Australian-bred thoroughbreds in 2010.
Five of the top six sprinters in the world were bred in Australia with Hong Kong-trained Sacred Kingdom (121), Singapore-trained Rocket Man (121), Ireland-trained Starspangledbanner (121) and New South Wales speedster Hay List (120) proving wonderful ambassadors for the Australian breeding industry.
South African star JJ The Jet Plane, who rated 122 in winning December’s Hong Kong International Sprint, was the only sprinter bred outside Australia in the top six.
Former Victorian sprinter Starspangledbanner, a Group 1 sprint winner in both hemispheres during 2010, was afforded the honour of Champion 3YO Sprinter of the World.
Black Caviar, who returned to Peter Moody’s stables this week, will be the headline act during February and March’s lucrative Melbourne Festival of Racing. She is slated to resume in the Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on 19 February.
WORLD’S BEST PERFORMERS
The top rated horse for 2010 was English sensation Harbinger who achieved a rating of 135 before a fractured cannon bone stalled his meteoric rise and forced his retirement in August.
Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and part-owned by Australian interests, Harbinger achieved his rating when beating a star-studded field in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2400m) by 11 lengths at Ascot in July.
Harbinger’s rating of 135 is just one less than that given to champion Irish colt Sea The Stars 12 months prior during his unbeaten three-year-old reign.
USA Breeders Classic (Dirt) winner Blame, the only horse to defeat glamour mare Zenyatta, was next in the rankings on 129, with Epsom Derby and Arc de Triomphe winner Workforce, star French three-year-old Makfi and American star Quality Road on 128.
Japan’s Arc De Triomphe runner-up Nakayama Festa and brilliant English three-year-old Canford Cliffs, a winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas and Sussex Stakes, were rated 127.
Rated alongside So You Think on 126 was the Aidan O’Brien-trained stablemates, Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco and Juddmonte International Stakes winner Rip Van Winkle.
AUSTRALIA’S GREAT RACE
The release of the 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings served to confirm the Emirates Melbourne Cup’s billing as the world’s premier staying race, whilst franking November’s 150th edition as the best in history.
Taking into account the handicap conditions, four-year-old So You Think was afforded a rating of 122 for his third placing making him Champion Stayer of the World.
Cup winner Americain, who carried less weight than his younger rival, achieved a rating of 121 which was the second highest mark afforded a horse in a race greater than 2700 metres.
Both performances were rated superior to Arctic Cosmos’ (120) win in the English St Leger, Sans Frontieres’ (120) victory in the Irish St Leger, Jaguar Mail’s (118) win in Japan’s Tenno Sho (Spring) and the Ascot Gold Cup win of Rite Of Passage (118).
“The rankings confirm the Emirates Melbourne Cup’s standing as the world’s best staying race, with 2010 the highest rated edition by a considerable margin,” Carpenter said.
“The reason So You Think rated higher than Americain, is because he conceded his older rival 3kg, that being 1.5kg in actual weight plus a four-year-old weight-for-age allowance of 1.5kg, which equates to about 5.5 lengths over 3200 metres,” he explained.
“In finishing only 3.25 lengths from Americain So You Think ran to a higher rating in the Cup, even allowing a discretionary element for the ease of the French horse’s victory.”
Looking ahead to this year, the World Thoroughbred Rankings provide a source of interest with four internationals featured within already on Australian soil in preparation for the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival.
Midas Touch (118) and At First Sight (115) have both been purchased by Lloyd Williams; Glass Harmonium (115) has been acquired by clients of trainer Mike Moroney; whilst UK stayer Tactic (117) has been transferred to David Hayes.
The total number of Australian-trained horses to make the World Thoroughbred Rankings dropped from 50 to 43 in 2010, but Carpenter explained that there’s more to the story.
“Whilst there was a reduction, it is clearly the second highest tally we’ve achieved and there are mitigating factors,” he said.
“The dominance of horses like So You Think and Black Caviar meant the spread of feature winners was less than previous years, plus we saw horses trained outside Australia in Americain, Lion Tamer and Wall Street winning Group 1 races here.
“It is also important to note that the number of Australian-trained horses to rate 120 or greater continues to grow. We had five horses in this elite category in 2010, up from four the year prior and just two in 2008, which is a most pleasing progression.”
Joining So You Think, Black Caviar and Hay List in the elite category were Cox Plate placegetters Zipping and Whobegotyou who both rated 120.
Total Number of Australian Trained Horses Rated 115+
For a full list of the 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings visit http://www.horseracingintfed.com/.