Bowman and McDonald in a pitched battle for supremacy down under

James McDonald has won more Group races in Australia this year than Hugh Bowman (25 to 23). Photo:

For a second straight year, jockeys Hugh Bowman and James McDonald are locked in a pitched battle for supremacy in Group races on Australian soil. Taking results up to last Sunday into consideration, the TRC Global Rankings algorithm separates these two top riders by only two points using data from their domestic racing alone.

As the table shows, Bowman has 1079 Points and McDonald 1077. These numbers translate their performance in Australian Group races to a numerical scale by making millions of connections between horses and riders in races across the country. (You can read full details of the computations for the full global rankings in this explanation.)


2016 rank2015 rankNameRunnersRunsIVtRPRG1 winsG2 winsG3 wins2016 pts2015 ptsCHANGE
11Hugh Bowman791151.4893.93  99510791089-10
22James McDonald771371.4394.32  4101110771087-10
35Blake Shinn711121.3291.76  171110491014+35
429Brad Rawiller26511.5488.37  4191048944+104
54Damien Oliver721021.2591.65  231010411019+22
67Dwayne Dunn781161.1792.12  43810361007+29
73Kerrin McEvoy791191.1292.43  65410331027+6
826Timothy Clark57831.0388.96  1361001948+53
934Damian Lane55950.9689.59  126998941+57
106Craig A Williams77970.8890.34  1529951013-18
118Tommy Berry67900.9389.17  324992999-7
1211Mark Zahra55820.8389.32  222983990-7
139Ben Melham37470.9986.62  123981996-15
1419Craig Newitt51740.8288.45  410976962+14
1533Stephen Baster26440.9185.73  031967942+25
1510Glyn Schofield33440.9485.28  104967992-25


McDonald has won more Group races than Bowman in Australia this year – 25 to his rival’s 23 – and has competed against slightly stronger opposing riders as well – our metric tRPR is like ‘strength of schedule’ for football teams – but Bowman has a higher strike-rate considering the size of fields he has ridden in – our metric IV is like ‘win percentage’ in all the pairs of match-ups between jockeys – and the machine-learning capabilities of our system knows to put more weight on this statistic in order to predict results in future more accurately.

Amazingly, the TRC algorithm also separated Bowman and McDonald by just two points using 2015 Australian results alone. (These numbers are shown in the column 2015 pts in the table.)

For his part, McDonald substantiated the rankings order during a five-week spell in Britain this year, during which he greatly impressed many observers. But Bowman has also proved his mettle to the Brits too, landing the Silver Saddle while captaining the Rest of the World Team to victory at the 2007 Shergar Cup at Ascot.

It is important towards understanding the TRC Global Rankings to appreciate why, in our main rankings, Bowman currently leads McDonald by 1049 Points to 1030. When the system knows the results of Group and Graded races everywhere, the millions of links it makes to Bowman are stronger than those to McDonald because the connections between the riders and horses Bowman has competed against and defeated radiate more strongly across the planet. His opponents – and his  opponents’ opponents etc – have simply found more success elsewhere.

In this way, the TRC Global Rankings algorithm constructs a world order that isn’t an exercise in playing with numbers but a mathematical construction of global power. If two riders meet anywhere in a Group or Graded race next week, we think we know the higher-ranked rider is more likely to win because thousands of back-tests have convinced us that the numbers stand up time and again.

So, when you know all the results, Bowman is clearly the more influential rider and deserves the higher ranking for now, but this pitched battle between two men on top of the world will continue to rage down under.

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