Bob Baffert takes the main headline in the TRC Global Rankings this week as he breaks into the world top three in the trainers’ standings, but it is veteran rider Anton Marcus who is the biggest star this time after a dominant weekend in South Africa.
Baffert’s American Anthem went down by a head to Gormley in a titanic battle for the G3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, both horses recording fine Racing Post Ratings in an early skirmish on the road to the Kentucky Derby (read James Willoughby's analysis of the Sham here).
That helped the trainer to a one-point gain over the week, which was enough to take him past Aussie Chris Waller into third place in the trainers’ standings behind fellow American Chad Brown and clear leader Aidan O’Brien.
Gormley’s trainer, John Shirreffs, is also on the move, climbing 73 places after a seven-point gain. He is now ranked 213. And the riders of both principals also progressed - Victor Espinoza (Gormley) gaining three points and rising two places to #26 in the jockeys’ standings, and Mike Smith (American Anthem) returning to the top ten after a two-point gain.
But the 46-year-old Anton Marcus isn’t far behind Smith after memorably winning both Group races (the pair of them G1s) run in South Africa last week. The Kenilworth victories of Bela-Bela (in the Main Chance Farms Paddock Stakes) and Legal Eagle (L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate) give Marcus a whopping 12-point gain, which sends him shooting up six places to #13.
Marcus, who has been one of his country’s outstanding performers for more than 20 years, has been riding as well as ever recently - he has held down a top 20 spot for the last six months, as can be seen from this graph of his progression in the TRC jockeys’ standings.
He wasn’t the only jockey to gain 12 points last week, though. Step forward five-time UAE champion Tadhg O’Shea. The Irishman was aboard winner Le Bernardin, winner of the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge on the first day of the Dubai Carnival last Thursday.
That means a colossal rise up the jockeys’ rankings from #476 to 247 for O’Shea.
TRC Global Rankings: other significant points gainers this week
JOCKEY: Zac Purton (Modal country: Australia). Highlights of the week: rode Not Listenin’tome, runner-up to Amazing Kids in the Bauhinia Trophy, and winner Harbour Master in a G3 at Happy Valley last Wednesday; 5pt gain; climbs from 26 to 22.
Amazing Kids’ rider Joao Moreira gains 4pts this week, strengthening his position at #8.
TRAINER: John Size (Hong Kong). Highlight of the week: trains Amazing Kids, winner of the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy at Sha Tin (at 120, the highest-rated performance of the week on RPR); 7pt gain; climbs from 66 to 50.
John Moore, trainer of both Not Listenin’tome and Harbour Master, rises one place to #8 in the trainers’ standings.
OWNER: Mayfair Speculators (South Africa). Highlight: their Legal Eagle won the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth on Saturday; 7pt gain, up from 128 to 63.
SIRE: Malibu Moon (USA). Highlight: the son of A.P.Indy is the sire of Gormley, winner of the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday. Malibu Moon stands at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky; 6pt gain; climbs from 123 to 92.
Click here for a list of the week’s biggest points gainers.