Round-the-world treble helps Frankel surge back into the top four

Call The Wild (Olivier Peslier) leads a Frankel 1-2 in the Longines Turf Handicap at Riyadh on Saudi Cup day. Photo: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Doug DeFelice

Lots of notable movements in the higher reaches of all categories in the TRC Global Rankings last week as 2020 begins to stir into life in the Group/Graded racing scene.

Perhaps the most significant high-level action was in Riyadh, and although all the races on the Saudi Cup card were run merely as conditions races this time, we have given them appropriate gradings ourselves for the purposes of the rankings:

  • Saudi Cup (G1)
  • Saudia Sprint (G2)
  • Longines Turf Handicap (G2)
  • Saudi Derby (G3)
  • STC Cup (G3)
  • Naghi Motors Cup (G3)

Here we select four highlights from this week’s updated rankings:

+6pts (up from #6 to #4 in the overall sires’ standings)

The Juddmonte great surges back into the top four with an outstanding week, his offspring notching qualifying victories on three continents - the juvenile Hungry Heart taking a G2 at Randwick in Australia, Elizabeth Way winning a G3 at Gulfstream Park in the U.S., and Call The Wild landing the Longines Turf Handicap in Riyadh, beating Mekong for a 1-2 for his sire in the $2.5m stayers’ contest. 

Although Frankel has been developing something of a reputation as a producer of stayers, those three wins were over a wide range of distances - 1320m, 2090m and 3000m respectively - showing he is well capable of siring quality runners over shorter trips.

+9pts (up five places to #9 in the jockeys’ standings)

The young New Zealand conditioner moves into the top ten for the first time after a pair of Randwick G1s - on the impressive 6-year-old Te Akau Shark in the Chipping Norton and the filly Probabeel in the Surround Stakes, both ridden by countryman Opie Bosson.

Richards has been making a name for himself as the handler of NZ horse of the year Melody Belle - who two years ago became his first major winner. He has built a powerful stable and is clearly a trainer with a big future.

+10pts (up ten places to #21 in the jockeys’ standings)

While Japan-based Frenchman Christophe Lemaire was drawing level with Brit Ryan Moore at world #2 and Irad Ortiz tieing Mike Smith at world #6 and U.S. #1, Kiwi Bosson, the week’s biggest climber across all categories, was making altogether bigger strides just outside the top 20.  

The 39-year-old, who rode both of the Richards G1 scorers at Randwick on Saturday (see above), lies fifth in the NZ jockeys’ premiership, but he doesn’t chase the rides these days and is renowned as the country’s go-to big-race jockey. He is the highest-ranked New Zealand-based rider in our standings, although Sydney-based James McDonald (#13) is the highest of those born in NZ.

+1pt (up one place to #6 in the trainers’ standings)

Asmussen has been in rich form for some time now, and his Saudi exploits - Midnight Bisou’s stirring second in the Saudi Cup and Rowdy Yates’s fourth in the Saudi Derby - lifted him to world #6 (joint with Australia’s James Cummings). He is the third highest-ranked U.S. trainer, behind #3 Chad Brown and #4 Bob Baffert. 

Asmussen must also take some credit for another winner on the card. New York Central, who took the Saudia Sprint under Irad Ortiz, had been trained by Asmussen and owned by WinStar, China Horse Club and SF Racing until last week, when he was acquired by Prince Faisal Bin Khaled and transferred to Saudi trainer Sami Al Harabi.

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