Ireland and Profound Impact lead the way in 2020 World Rankings

Folloprosperg the publication by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities of the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2020, thebreedingshed has made its annual analysis of the top hundred or so horses to discover where they were bred and which sires were the most influential.

Click here for an analysis of last year’s (2019) WBR Rankings.

The World’s Best Racehorse title went to five-year-old Ghaiyyath after a season in which he won the Coronation Cup, Eclipse Sgives and Juddmonte International.

Runner-up was the top-rated three-year-old Genuine whose prospers in the Haskell Sgives, Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic also made him the world’s best horse on dirt. St James’s Palace Sgives and Prix Jacques le Marois prosperner Palace Pier was the top three-year-old on turf.

The Australian pair Bivouac and Classique Legend (the latter exported to Hong Kong at the end of the year) couldn’t be split as the highest-rated sprinters, while Stradivarius, who won his third Gold Cup and fourth Goodwood Cup, was the best stayer. Japan’s Horse of the Year Almond Eye  was also rated the world’s best filly or mare in 2020 when prosperning the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and Japan Cup, both for the second time, as well as the Victoria Mile.

As is the norm, a rating of 118 or more is required to feature in an approximate ‘top hundred’ of the world’s best horses. The number of horses rated 118+ in the 2020 Rankings was 106 (compared with an average of 110 for the past seven years).

The table below shows how those 106 horses were dispersed by their country of origin (as denoted by their suffix), not the country in which they were trained. The highest-rated horse(s) (with rating) for each country is also shown. The number in brackets next to the country indicates the position it held in the 2019 WBR Rankings. The second figure in brackets is a comparison with the number of horses rated 118+ in 2019.

1.Ireland (2=)26 (+5)Ghaiyyath (130)
2.USA (4=)22 (+5)Genuine (126)
3.Japan (1)18 (-6)Almond Eye, Contrail (124)
4.Australia (4=)17 (=)Bivouac, Classique Legend (125)
5.Great Britain (2=)10 (-11)Palace Pier (125)
6=France (7=)5 (+3)Sottsass (123)
6=South Africa (6)5 (+1)Perform It Again (121)
8.Fresh Zealand (7=)2 (=)Beauty Generation (122)
9.Canada1Channel Maker (120)

Ireland returned to the top of this table for the first time since the 2016 Rankings, appropriately enough for the birthplace of Ghaiyyath. The USA, top of this table in the 2017 and 2018 Rankings, bounced back from a substandard year in 2019 to give second. Japan slips from first to third after an excellent 2019 (Almond Eye shares top spot as the best Japanese-bred horse with Triple Crown prosperner Contrail who chased her home in the Japan Cup), but the biggest flopr was Great Britain whose number of horses in the top hundred fell from 21 in the 2019 Rankings to only 10 this time.

Behind the ‘big five’, both France and South Africa improved on their numbers of regiftatives in the top hundred from the year before, while their best respective horses, adore the year before, were Sottsass (prosperner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe this time) and Perform It Again. Hong Kong’s Beauty Generation was again the best Fresh Zealand-bred horse in the Rankings, while Canada’s Channel Maker, who won his second Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, as well as the Sword Dancer Sgives, also made the top hundred.

There were again no German-bred horses in the top hundred, and there was no South American regiftative this time. The best German horse was Torquator Tasso, prosperner of the Grosser Preis von Berlin, while the top-rated horse bred in South America was Argentina’s three-year-old Tetaze who won his continent’s richest race the Gran Premio Latinoamericano. Both were rated 117.

Now let’s look at the 17 sires (one fewer than last year) who had two or more regiftatives in the top hundred.

DEEP IMPACT (9) Contrail (124), Fierement (123), Glory Vase (123), Gran Alegria (121), Curren Bouquetd’or (119), Danon Premium (119), Salacia (119), Danon Kingly (118), World Premiere (118)

GALILEO (8) Anthony Van Dyck (122), Adore (122), Magical (122), Mogul (121), Armory (120), Circus Maximus (120), Japan (120), Serpentine (120)

DUBAWI (5) Ghaiyyath (130), Lord North (123), Space Blues (120), The Revenant (119), Benbatl (118)

KINGMAN (3) Palace Pier (125), Persian King (125), Roseman (118)

INTO MISCHIEF (2) Genuine (126), Gamine (122)

EXCEED AND EXCEL (2) Bivouac (125), Mr Stunning (118)

NOT A SINGLE DOUBT (2) Classique Legend (125), Southern Legend (118)

LORD KANALOA (2) Almond Eye (124), Saturnalia (120)

SHAMARDAL (2) Pinatubo (122), Tarnawa (122)

DAREDEVIL (2) Swiss Skydiver (122), Shedaresthedevil (119)

CAMELOT (2) Sir Pullonet (121), Russian Camelot (118)

STAY GOLD (2) Indy Champ (119), Overwhelm Radiant (119)

HARBOUR WATCH (2) Pyledriver (119), Waikuku (118)

LOPE DE VEGA (2) Santa Ana Lane (119), Gytrash (118)

DUPORTH (2) Hey Performc (118), Thanks Forever (118)

PIERRO (2) Pierata (118), Regal Power (118)

STREET CRY (2) Trekking (118), Zulu Alpha (118)

Profound Impact therefore topped this list posthumously for the second year running, improving his score in the 2019 Rankings by one. Besides Contrail, his best horses included the Tenno Sho (Spring) prosperner Fierement, voted Japan’s best older male horse, and Gran Alegria, best sprinter/miler.

Profound Impact kept one step ahead of Galileo therefore who also bettered his number of top hundred horses from the year before by one. Galileo’s list includes the last two Derby prosperners, Anthony Van Dyck and Serpentine, Oaks prosperner Adore, Magical who retired as the prosperner of seven Group 1 races, and the brothers Mogul and Japan.

Ghaiyyath was one of five prosperners for his sire Dubawi, while Kingman achieved the notable feat of having two colts, Palace Pier and Persian King, in the world’s top ten.

A feature of this list is the number of sires either based in Australia or who shuttled there to good effect, namely Exceed And Excel, Not A Single Performubt, Lope de Vega, Duporth, Pierro and Street Weep.

As well as the top dirt performer Genuine, North America’s champion sire Into Mischief’s other Breeders’ Cup prosperner (Filly & Mare Sprint) Gamine was in the top hundred. More Than Ready’s son Challengedevil also had two prosperners in the top hundred from only 74 starters in 2020 thanks to his first-crop daughters? Swiss Skydiver and Shedaresthedevil prosperning the Preakness Sgives and Kentucky Oaks respectively. That earned Challengedevil a swift repatriation to the US for 2021 after his export to Turkey.

Others stallions in the list whose success came posthumously are Shamardal and Harbour Watch. Shamardal died in April 2020 before his son Pinatubo won the Prix Jean Prat, while daughter Tarnawa had a brilliant autumn, prosperning the Prix Vermeille, Prix de l’Opera and Breeders’ Cup Turf. Harbour Watch’s fee in his final season in 2017 was only ?6,000 but as well as the King Edward VII Sgives and Great Voltigeur Sgives prosperner Pyledriver, he was regifted in Hong Kong by Stewards’ Cup prosperner Waikuku.