Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The World's Heading Horses

The latest publication of this years the World's Leading Horses covering the racing period from 1st April to 17th October 2006 sees a change at the top as four horses BERNARDINI (USA), GEORGE WASHINGTON (IRE), LAVA MAN (USA) and RAIL LINK (GB) all rated at 127, top the rankings for the first time.

The three-year-old generation is well represented with three of the top four ranked horses from that age group. BERNARDINI (USA) has now won five from five this year and defeated the older horses when easily winning the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup over 2000m (10f) in early October. Already a Classic winner, GEORGE WASHINGTON (IRE) also beat the older horses and four previous Group One winners when successful in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1600m (8f) in emphatic style.

Another US trained horse with an unblemished record this year is LAVA MAN (USA) with six straight wins including four G1 successes, three on Dirt and one on Turf. He joins the top after giving 11 lbs and 2-¼ lengths defeat to dual G1 winner Brother Derek in G2 Goodwood H'cap over 1800m (9f). The third 3yo to share the top ranking is RAIL LINK (GB) who moved up from 43rd position to share the top after his victory in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere, his first start against the older generation and his second G1 victory this year. In winning the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe he defeated the top three ranked Turf performers in the previous edition of the World's Leading Horses.

The Breeders' Cup Classic on 4th November at Churchill Downs could well see three of the top four ranked horses, Bernardini (USA) and Lava Man (USA) from the US and George Washington (IRE) from Europe compete and could well determine the top ranked horse of the year.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes winner HURRICANE RUN (IRE) (rated 126) has dropped to 5th place after topping the World's Leading Horses in each edition for which he was eligible since October 2005.

There is a new top ranked Filly & Mare in PRIDE (FR) (123) after her close up second to Rail Link in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere over 2400m (12f) and sparkling success in the G1 Emirates Champion Stakes over 2000m (10f) two weeks later, overtaking OUIJA BOARD (GB) (121) who was narrowly beaten by the 3yo DYLAN THOMAS (IRE) (125) in the G1 Baileys Irish Champion Stakes over 2000m (10f) in September. PRIDE (FR) is now the second highest Filly or Mare to appear in the World's Leading Horses just one point behind the Australian trained mare MAKYBE DIVA (GB) who earned a rating of 124 by winning the 2005 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

TAKEOVER TARGET (AUS) (121), now the top ranked Australian trained horse, maintains his position as the top ranked Turf sprinter moving up in the overall rankings from 26th position to 17th. He recently won the G1 Sprinters Stakes over 1200m (6f) in Japan and in doing so won the 2006 Global Sprint Challenge having previously won in Australia and Great Britain. He is now in line to win the US $1 million bonus if he can win his third Group One race in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint in December. In the US, HENNY HUGHES (USA) (121) made it three from three when winning the G1 Vosburgh Stakes over 1200m (6f) and heads the Dirt sprint category.

ARAGORN (IRE) (122) and LAVA MAN (USA) (122) are the leading Turf performers in the US and DEEP IMPACT (JPN) (125) following his close up third in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere continues to be the top ranking Japanese trained horse in the rankings.

In the stayers category the leader is DEEP IMPACT (JPN) (123) achieved by winning the JPN G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) over 3200m in April. Following up on his Ascot Gold Cup victory, YEATS (IRE) (121) gained success in the G2 ABN Amro Goodwood Cup to position himself as the top European ranked stayer and is on target to run in the Emirates Melbourne Cup early next month.

The World's Leading Horses are compiled by the World Rankings Supervisory Committee and published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). The next World's Leading Horses listing will be released in November.