(from 1st January to 31st July)


GHOSTZAPPER (USA), the highest-ranked horse in the world in 2004, kept himself at the top of the tree with a sparkling victory in the Metropolitan Handicap (Group 1) run on Dirt over a mile (1600m) at Belmont Park in May. Returning to the track after a seven month absence, the five-year-old trounced his rivals by 6.25 lengths, to earn a 128 rating, the highest in the world this year. Sadly, GHOSTZAPPER was subsequently found to have sustained an injury, and has been retired from racing


There is a triple tie for second place between the Turf performers AZAMOUR (IRE), MOTIVATOR (GB) and SHAMARDAL (USA), all of whom are rated 126.


AZAMOUR jumps from joint 24th in the previous listing as a result of his victory in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Group 1) run at Newbury in July, his first attempt at a mile and a half (2400m).


The five length victory of MOTIVATOR in the Vodafone Derby (Group 1) at Epsom in June over a mile and a half (2400m) sees him making his debut in the Rankings. Like AZAMOUR, MOTIVATOR showed his best form yet when stepped up to this distance for the first time.


Also on a mark of 126 is SHAMARDAL (USA). Unbeaten on Turf, SHAMARDAL put up his finest performance when winning the St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) over a mile (1600m) at York in June. Unfortunately, SHAMARDAL later suffered an injury in training and, like GHOSTZAPPER, has now been retired.


MOTIVATOR and SHAMARDAL share the honour of being the top 3yos in the list.


AFLEET ALEX (USA), who won two of the three legs of the American Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) at Pimlico in May at a mile and a quarter (2000m) and the Belmont Stakes (Grade 1) at Belmont Park in June over a mile and a half (2400m), is rated the top 3yo on Dirt at 125 for his four and three-quarter length win in the Preakness.


The highest ranked filly is DIVINE PROPORTIONS (USA), who is joint seventh on a mark of 123. Unbeaten in nine starts, DIVINE PROPORTIONS earned her rating with her five length victory in the Gainsborough Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Group 1) at Longchamp in May over 1600m (one mile).


Nine horses share seventh spot with DIVINE PROPORTIONS, including SILENT WITNESS (AUS), the top sprinter in the Rankings on the strength of his length and three-quarter triumph in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (Group 1) at Sha Tin in April over 1200m (six furlongs).


At the other extreme of the distance spectrum, WESTERNER (GB) is the top stayer, being ranked equal 37th on 118 following his neck victory in the Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1), run this year at York in June, over two and a half miles (4000m).


The World's Leading Horses are compiled by members of the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings Conference and published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).


The list of the World’s Leading Horses will be published five times each year to give updates on the leading performers worldwide. These listings will be produced in January (following the December WTRR Conference), April (following the Dubai World Cup meeting), August (following the July WTRR Conference), October (following the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting) and November (following the Breeders’ Cup meeting). These assessments will also appear on the IFHA website. To merit inclusion, a horse must have achieved its rating within the previous six/seven months.


The next listing will be published early in October.


The full list and individual country listings are available on the IFHA web site