My ‘Top 20’ list is controversial and certainly defies the official ratings gurus – but it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.
Number one. It has to be Winx. She’s in a league of her own. Photo: Steve Hart
So right now who is the world’s best racehorse and who’s the second best horse in Australia?
The answers according to the generally relied upon sources are Arrogate and Hartnell.
I’m not sure that either is correct.
Those sources are Timeform and the IFHA (International Federation of Horse Racing).
The former, for all it’s general reliability, does have a habit of promoting the best in the northern hemisphere too quickly and the latter produces a list rating the horses over the past three months.
That doesn’t work.
Europe’s best horse Almanzor is not on the current list which therefore flatters many who are.
Neither organisation has Hong Kong’s star Rapper Dragon in their top 30.
Both have the Japan Cup winner Kitasan Black way too low.
The IFHA ratings are done by a panel of international racing club handicappers.
I’m not sure exactly who makes up Timeform’s Global Rankings Panel but I’d bet they’re of a similar mould to the other.
That is, a touch too ‘book wormish’.
A tad too absorbed in Turf Registers and catalogues and in the past.
I fancy both would do better if they factored in the assessment of some hard-nosed punters.
Timeform has Arrogate rated on 141 and Winx on 134.
That’s just silly.
He won the Breeders’ Cup by a half-length from California Chrome – a sensational racehorse but one who was coming to the end as evidenced by his next run in Florida.
Arrogate won the World Cup in visually breathtaking fashion but take out the runner-up Gun Runner and it was a pretty ordinary race.
It’s basically impossible to compare Winx and Arrogate.
No connecting form-lines, different hemispheres and they race on different surfaces.
However, Winx has been just as emphatic and visually impressive, if not more so in her wins and sustained the winning run for longer.
I can’t see any logic behind she being rated that much lower than Arrogate.
The IFHA is more realistic with Arrogate on 134 and Winx on 132 although I’d argue that they should be at least equal and that it’s pointless to have the overall rankings amalgamated.
Just split them into turf and dirt.
The IFHA has Hartnell second to Winx on 123 – followed by Chautauqua (122); Jameka (120); Black Heart Bart; Le Romain; Our Ivanhowe and Palentino (119).
The margins are narrower with Timeform – Winx (134); Hartnell (128); Chautauqua (127); Black Heart Bart (126); Humidor, Le Romain, Hauraki (125); Jameka, Palentino (124): Our Ivanhowe (123).
For me these numbers lose some credibility as Timeform still has Flying Artie on 127, Astern at 126 and Extreme Choice on 124.
This despite the fact that everybody saw that these much vaunted three-year-old sprinters didn’t measure up in the autumn as well as most expected (me included).
Surely they can’t still be rated above the middle distance and staying three-year-olds?
Ironically I think it is this group which are going to prove to be the stars and I suspect several of them will be rated with the best by the end of the year.
In my opinion the fillies are led by Bonneval, Foxplay, Invincible Gem and Montoya’s Secret while the three-year-old males are a very good group – Jon Snow, Gingernuts, Mongolian Wolf, Inference, Rising Red, Harper’s Choice, So Si Bon, Farson, Hardham, Ruthven and Prized Icon.
Recent history says you have to reserve judgment on the Australian Oaks form but three of the past four winners of the Australian Derby have certainly gone on – It’s A Dundeel, Criterion and Mongolian Khan, while Tavago did come back to win the Sky High Stakes despite lots of issues.
But none of these three-year-olds deserve quite yet to be rated at the top of the list of our best racehorses, just as Hartnell shouldn’t be rated our second best horse.
He raced once during the autumn in a race which Winx did not contest and was beaten 3-1/4 lengths behind Our Ivanhowe in the Ranvet.
We ought to base our ratings on simply what happened and not on what ifs.
Winning is the key along with consistency of performance.
On that basis I’d argue that Black Heart Bart is entitled to be, right now, rated our second best horse.
He’s taken on Winx once and ran her to two lengths (irrelevant in my view) that it was a three-horse race.
He’s taken on Chautauqua once and beaten him.
He’s had 10 starts on good tracks since coming to Victoria for six wins and four seconds.
He’s had six runs from 1400m to 1800m (on dry) in that period for five wins and a nose second in the Stradbroke under 58kg.
Here’s how I’d rate our top 20 horses at the moment. Bearing in mind I’m not trying to be the bloody oracle – just inviting the discussion.
What do you reckon?
My Top 20 – right now!
2. Black Heart Bart
3. Our Ivanhowe
5. Le Romain
7. Yankee Rose
9. Happy Clapper
10. It’s Somewhat
12. Sense Of Occasion
16. The United States
18. Jon Snow