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Publication of Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings 2020

Please find below an overview of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings 2020 and the Irish Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings 2020.



The British-trained 5-y-o year GHAIYYATH (IRE)(130) was the clear standout performer in the world during 2020 with a rating four pounds clear of the top American Dirt and 3-y-o performer AUTHENTIC (USA)(126) and six pounds ahead of the Top Filly/Mare, the Japanese-trained ALMOND EYE (JPN)(124).

GHAIYYATH (IRE)(130) graduated from a rating of 114 as a 3-y-o in 2018 to a rating of 126 in 2019 but his best performance of 2020 was in achieving a rating of 130 in defeating MAGICAL (IRE)(122), LORD NORTH (IRE)(123) and KAMEKO(USA)(122) in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York in August. His other two Group 1 winning performances were in the Coral Eclipse (G1) at Sandown in July (defeating dual Arc winner ENABLE (GB)(122)) and in the Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup (G1) at Newmarket where he put up the best performance in the world over 12f during 2020.

AUTHENTIC (USA)(126) was the highest rated 3-y-o and dirt performer in 2020, doing the Kentucky Derby (G1)(Presented by Woodford Reserve) and Longines Breeders Cup Classic (G1) double, last achieved by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (USA)(134) in 2015. In the former, he defeated Belmont Stakes (G1) winner TIZ THE LAW (USA)(125) at Churchill Downs while his best performance was in the latter at Keeneland defeating Top Older Dirt Colt IMPROBABLE(USA)(123).

ALMOND EYE (JPN)(124) concluded her career of brilliant consistency (rated 124 in each of the last three years) in winning three Group 1 races - in the process becoming the first Japanese-trained filly/mare to top the World Female category in the LONGINES rankings. She became only the second mare to win the Japan Cup (G1) twice (previously achieved by Gentildonna (JPN)(122) in 2012/2013) and is second only to Lys Gracieux (JPN)(126) (2019) among Japanese fillies/mares this century.

Top 3-y-o Turf Filly in the World was the Irish-trained LOVE (IRE)(122), who was unbeaten in 2020 in winning the Qipco 1,000 Guineas (G1), Investec Oaks (G1) and Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) on her only three starts and all by wide margins. She shared this rating with her older stablemate MAGICAL (IRE)(122), who concluded her stellar career (122 rated in each of the last three years) when defeating World Champion GHAIYYATH (IRE)(130) in winning the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown for the second time.



2020 was an unusual year to say the least with the normal racing calendar disrupted by a global pandemic and this may account in part for 12 of the 13 domestic Group 1 races being kept at home, including all five Classics. On a positive note, there were four Irish Group 1 races included in the listing of the World’s Top 100 Races (there were three in 2019) with the Irish Champion Stakes (124.75 – the average rating of the first four finishers) at Leopardstown narrowly pipped into second place by the Juddmonte International (125.25) at York with the oft derided Tattersalls Gold Cup (121.75) in thirteenth place. Somewhat paradoxically no Irish trained horse appears in the top 20 of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (LWBRR) listing for 2020. However, this does not accurately portray the quality, in particular, of Irish fillies/mares in the past season. No less than three fillies/mares were rated at 122 (LOVE(IRE)/MAGICAL(IRE)/TARNAWA(IRE)) which is our highest ever number historically at that exalted level (122+) since the Classifications commenced back in 1977. Insofar as these fillies/mares would be in receipt of the sex allowance running against colts (3lbs in Europe), one can argue that only two horses in the world rated superior (in real terms, in terms of race conditions) to our top three fillies/mares. These were GHAIYYATH (IRE)(130) and the American 3-y-o AUTHENTIC (USA)(126) and this puts a somewhat different perspective on matters.


The progressive 2-y-o colt ST MARK’S BASILICA (FR) (120) was rated Champion Juvenile in Europe in defeating stablemate WEMBLEY (IRE)(118) and compatriot THUNDER MOON (IRE)(117) in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1) at Newmarket in what was a below average year for juveniles. As European Champion Juvenile Colt, he would rate above only Camelot (GB)(119) and Dabirsim (FR)(119) in 2011 and Belardo (IRE)(119) in 2014 as champion this century. THUNDER MOON(IRE) had earlier won the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (G1) at the Curragh defeating an unlucky LUCKY VEGA (IRE)(116), who had earlier won the other domestic Group 1 for 2-y-o colts – the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (G1), also at the Curragh. MAC SWINEY (IRE) (116) and VAN GOGH(USA)(114) were the only other Irish-trained Group 1 winning juvenile colts during 2020 with the former winning the Vertem Futurity (G1) at Doncaster and the latter improving markedly to win the Criterium International (G1) at Saint Cloud.


LOVE (IRE)(122) was Top 3-y-o Turf Filly overall in the World during 2020 and Top 12f Filly when she was unbeaten in three Group 1 races with an average winning margin of over 6 lengths. She emulated both Minding (IRE)(122)(2016) and Kazzia (GER)(119)(2009) this century in completing the Qipco 1000 Guineas(G1)/ Investec Epsom Oaks (G1) double before adding the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1) for good measure. ALPINE STAR (IRE(119) was the Top 3-y-o Turf Filly in the World over 8-10f in winning the Coronation Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot and finishing runner up to Top 3-y-o Turf Miler PALACE PIER (GB)(125) in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville and when runner up to TARNAWA (IRE)(122) in the Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) at ParisLongchamp. MOGUL (GB)(121) was Top 3-y-o Colt, just head of stablemates SERPENTINE (IRE)(120), ARMORY(IRE)(120) and ORDER OF AUSTRALIA(IRE)(120) but his rating of 121 would be the second lowest this century (just above Treasure Beach (GB)(120)(2011) in the category. He achieved this level by improving markedly in the autumn to win the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (G1) and the Longines Hong Kong Vase (G1) at Sha Tin (emulating Highland Reel (IRE)(121) who won the race as a 3-y-o in 2015).


The British-trained World Champion Colt GHAIYYATH (IRE)(130) achieved the highest race rating in Ireland (123) in 2020 when beaten into second place by MAGICAL (IRE)(122) when carrying 3lbs more than her (sex allowance) in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Ironically, this was his worst performance (and only defeat) in 2020 when he achieved an overall rating of 130. MAGICAL (IRE) won three Group 1s during 2020 and has now rated at 122 for three consecutive years. She became only the second horse ever to win the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) in consecutive years (along with Dylan Thomas (IRE)(129) in 2006/2007) – ditto in winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) twice along with So You Think (AUS)(126) in 2011/2012. In her final season racing, she achieved the mantle of Top Older Mare in the World over 10 furlongs. TARNAWA (IRE)(122) improved her rating from 108 in 2019 to 122 when remaining unbeaten in four starts (including 3 Group 1s) in 2020, culminating in her most impressive performance in winning the Longines Breeders Cup Turf (G1) when she defeated MAGICAL (IRE) at Keeneland in November. In the process, she earned the accolade of Joint Top European Older Filly/Mare over 12f (along with ENABLE(GB)(122)) and one would have to go back to the 1980s and the likes of Blue Wind (1981) and Committed (1984) to find fillies of comparable quality trained by her trainer Dermot Weld. ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE)(122) was the top domestically-trained older colt in 2020 just ahead of his stablemate CIRCUS MAXIMUS (IRE)(120).


Full List of Rankings Available Here

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