Rupee sets early benchmark

The world’s equal-highest-rated sprinter, Lankan Rupee, is well placed to reach a new high after his win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning over 1000m at Flemington.

The Mick Price-trained five-year-old was given an international rating of 123 at the end of 2014, the equal-highest rating for sprinters with Terravista on the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (WBRR).

Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, was full of praise regarding the performance.

“Very early in 2015 he has got the yellow jacket,” said Carpenter on RSN’s Racing Ahead, referencing Lankan Rupee as the early leader for world-class performances.

“He shared the world’s highest-rated sprinter title with Terravista last year after setting high ratings in the earlier part of the year when winning the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes.

“He certainly looked as if he had returned to that form again on Saturday.”

Now a five-time Group 1 winner, Lankan Rupee had returned an international rating of 123 on two previous occasions. They were in winning the Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes.

“Going into the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, Lankan Rupee was rated 123 and Brazen Beau was 115,” said Carpenter.

“That is 8 ratings points over 1000m, that’s 2.75 lengths.

“Lankan Rupee won the race by 2.75 lengths from Brazen Beau, Deep Field had been rated 112 when winning the Group 2 on Derby Day last year and he was a long neck behind Brazen Beau.

“If you put Lankan Rupee at his peak figure of 123 then that would mean that, with a 2.75-length margin, Brazen Beau has run to his Coolmore Stud Stakes rating of 115 and Deep Field has actually run to about 113.

“Those will be the figures that I will submit.”

Carpenter is excited by what Lankan Rupee may achieve this campaign.

“It is going to be very interesting with Lankan Rupee’s next start to be in the Newmarket Handicap and Neil Jennings (Senior Handicapper) will put the weights out next Tuesday.

“He is going to have to be at his very best as he will be giving outstanding sprinters like Terravista and Chautauqua weight in that race but, on what we saw on Saturday, he is going to give that race a big shake.”

International ratings, which are submitted for the WBRR, are a numeric rating for peak performances in a horse’s career, based on individual races.

Lankan Rupee has achieved a rating of 123 on three occasions while Terravista has only achieved that figure once, when winning the Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic in November. These figures differ to the domestic handicap ratings that horses are assessed for weighing purposes in handicap races.

“Domestic handicap ratings certainly take into account the demonstrated ability of a horse,” said Carpenter.

“But they also take in a holistic approach as to how many times a horse has run to those sorts of marks and their overall career performances.

“Lankan Rupee has now won five Group 1s and has run to 123 on three occasions; Terravista has only won one Group 1 race and run to 123 on one occasion.

“There is no doubt that Lankan Rupee will be giving weight to Terravista through the domestic handicap in the Newmarket.”

It is expected that Lankan Rupee will be allocated a weight above the minimum top weight of 58kg for a Group 1 race.

In recent years, Black Caviar carried 58kg to victory in the 2011 Newmarket Handicap, while Hay List set a modern-era record when victorious with 58.5kg the following year. Lankan Rupee carried 56.5kg when successful last year.

In other races, Carpenter assessed the Peter Moody-trained Sweet And Speedy with a rating of 103 for winning the Group 3 The Vanity, inferior to runner up Set Square who rated 107. This rating difference is due to Set Square carrying 2.5kg more.

Similarly, Wandjina was rated 106 for winning the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes while the runner up, Disposition, rated 110. Again, the rating difference was due to Disposition carrying 2.5kg more.

Carpenter was impressed with the performances of the first four in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill. Hallowed Crown was rated 112 for his victory, while Sweynesse, Kermadec and Shooting To Win all achieved a mark of 111.

Headwater achieved a rating of 110 in winning the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes, a very high mark for a two-year-old so early in the season.

Fourth Group One for Dynamic Dissident

Star galloper Dissident won his fourth Group One race with a runaway win in Saturday’s CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

At his second start since a stud deal was clinched and he was transferred to the colours of new part owner, the China Horse Club, Dissident gave his army of connections plenty to cheer about when he cruised home in the feature weight-for-age contest.

The son of Sebring sat just behind the leaders for much of the race before coming with an electrifying sprint in the straight, reeling in the leaders and then clearing away under Ben Melham to win by a length and a half.

Dissident turned out a brilliant investment for his original connections, who through trainer Peter Moody, paid $210,000 for the colt from the draft of Widden Stud at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Moody has always held Dissident in high regard and the CF Orr Stakes was another feature for the exciting stallion prospect who will retire to stud this spring at Newgate Farm.

“He wasn’t suited first up at Moonee Valley but at seven furlongs or the mile in these conditions he’s almost unbeatable,” Moody said.

“I’m very proud of the horse. He’s done a tremendous job and is probalby one of, if not the best miler in the country.”

Dissident would have another run in Melbourne before connections to a possible trip to Sydney. At all times they will keep a close eye on the weather.

“He’s not at his best on soft ground,” Moody noted. “He’ll go forward to the Futurity at Caulfield in a couple of weeks and then you’ve got races like the George Ryder and the Doncaster if similar conditions to today present.”

Dissident is a true Magic Millions product. Not only was he purchased from the 2012 Gold Coast Yearling Sale himself, his sire and dam, both stakes performers, were also sold through the same sale ring.

His sire Sebring won the Golden Slipper for Star Thoroughbreds and Gai Waterhouse among a five win juvenile career. As a sire he’s been a huge success with 114 winners including 11 stakes winners – among them Criterion, Bring Me the Maid, Believe Yourself, Thurlow and Dissident.

Dam Diana’s Secret won two races, including one in Melbourne at two. She earned black type with a runner up finish in the listed Hill Smith Stakes at Morphettville.

Diana’s Secret in turn is from the winning Western Symphony mare Palace Scandal – a winning half sister to stakes winner Mountebank and daughter of triple group winner Palace Gossip.

Australian sprinters rule the world

Australian sprinters have again been recognised as the best in the world following the overnight (AET) release of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (WBRR) for 2014 by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

Australian-trained horses dominated the Sprint Division of the world rankings, providing the three highest rated horses in the category. LANKAN RUPEE (123) and TERRAVISTA (123) shared the title of Champion Sprinter in the World, ahead of CHAUTAUQUA (122).

LANKAN RUPEE was unbeatable in a summer-autumn campaign that saw him claim the Group 1 treble of the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington and T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

The son of Redoute’s Choice, who was crowned the Australian Racehorse of the Year in October, returned in the Spring Racing Carnival to win the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

LANKAN RUPEE received his mark of 123 in the Newmarket Handicap, where he carried 56.5kg to victory, beating crack Queensland sprinter SPIRIT OF BOOM (115) by more than two lengths.

The Mick Price-trained sprinter again achieved a rating of 123 in his dominant victory in the T.J. Smith Stakes where his rider, Craig Newitt, controlled the race from the front and won comfortably from REBEL DANE (116) and BUFFERING (117).

After a series of Stakes wins in Sydney in early 2014, the Joseph Pride-trained TERRAVISTA ventured to Melbourne during the Spring Racing Carnival where he was an emphatic winner of the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington, relegating LANKAN RUPEE into third place and running to a career high mark of 123.

Splitting the pair in the Darley Classic was the Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes-trained gelding CHAUTAUQUA who, after dominant wins in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), received a WBRR ranking of 122 for his long-head defeat by TERRAVISTA in the Darley Classic.

Australia’s WBRR representative, Greg Carpenter, said the rating assigned to LANKAN RUPEE and TERRAVISTA was an accurate reflection of the standard of the Australian sprinting ranks.

“To have three Australian sprinters ranked so highly in the same year is quite rare and it underlines the strength and respect that our sprinters have on the world stage,” Carpenter said.

“2014 was a breakout year for LANKAN RUPEE, TERRAVISTA and CHAUTAUQUA and their high rankings underscore the exciting year ahead for Australian racing fans.

The other Australian-trained horses to achieve ratings in the elite level of 120 or higher were the Peter Moody-trained DISSIDENT (121) and star miler SACRED FALLS (120).

DISSIDENT won three Group 1 races in 2014 but achieved his high mark when 2nd to TRUST IN A GUST (116) in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) at Caulfield, where he gave the winner 6kg in weight and was narrowly beaten in a driving finish.

SACRED FALLS led a remarkable first-four finish for trainer Chris Waller when winning his second Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in April. He achieved a career high rating of 120 in that race and again ran to the same mark when runner up to IT’S A DUNDEEL in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at his next start.

“In all, 40 Australian-trained horses were included in the listings, a great result for Australian racing.” Carpenter said. “A further nine internationally trained horses recorded performances of 115 or higher in Australian races.”

No less than eight Group 1 races during Sydney’s inaugural The Championships and Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival were won by horses trained outside of Australia, including victories by New Zealand-trained gallopers IT’S A DUNDEEL and SILENT ACHIEVER during The Championships.

German star PROTECTIONIST achieved a ranking of 120 for his dominant Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) win, which stands him alongside Japan’s GOLD SHIP as the world’s highest rated stayer for 2014. Gold Ship achieved a rating of 120 when defeating Admire Rakti in the Group 2 Hanshin Daishoten over 3000m in March.

The Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) winner IT’S A DUNDEEL (122), Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup hero ADMIRE RAKTI (121), Cox Plate-winning Irish colt ADELAIDE (120), SILENT ACHIEVER (117), GORDON LORD BYRON (116), SIDE GLANCE (116), FARRAAJ (115) and evergreen UK stayer RED CADEAUX (115) were other internationally-trained horses who achieved a rating of 115+ in Australian races.

And while Australia could lay claim to the world’s joint highest ranked horse in 2013 with BLACK CAVIAR, 2014 will be remembered as the year when the World’s Best Racehorse was trained in Japan for the first time.

Japan secured the top two rankings in the world last year courtesy of Group 1 Dubai Duty Free (1800m) winner JUST A WAY (130) and the outstanding Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) winner EPIPHANEIA (129).

Overall, the 10 top ranked horses in the WBRR comprised five from Europe, three from Asia, one from North America and one from South Africa.

Five horses achieved a ranking of 127 in 2014, including Australian-bred galloper ABLE FRIEND who was a devastating five length winner of the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) in December.

Group 1-winning European three-year-olds AUSTRALIA, THE GREY GATSBY and KINGMAN were also given a ranking of 127, alongside South African six-year-old VARIETY CLUB, a winner of the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin in May.

Champion French mare TREVE received a ranking of 126 after she successfully defended her Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) crown at Longchamp in October while Bob Baffert’s Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic (2000m) hero BAYERN and Group 1 Deutsches Derby (2400m) winner SEA THE MOON rounded out the top 10, each with a ranking of 125.

To merit inclusion in the rankings, a horse must have been rated at 115 or above in the period under review. In total 309 horses from 19 individual countries made it into the 2014 listings.