Three sires and three owners who soared in 2017

Battle Of Midway’s success in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar in November was one of three at the top level in a superb 2017 for the ownership grouping ‘WinStar Farm Et Al’. Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup

A Belmont Stakes winner, a perennial champion sire and arguably the greatest turf runner ever take the honours in James Willoughby’s look at the most significant movers in the TRC Global Sires’ Rankings over the last 12 months. In this, the second part of his review of the big climbers across all four rankings categories, Willoughby also focuses on the owners.




When you win ten Group races with five different horses, that is a notable accomplishment for a racehorse ownership syndicate. Even one that has previously won the Melbourne Cup.

Australian Bloodstock, the New South Wales-based syndicate who raced Protectionist, winner of Australia’s biggest race in 2014, are the most significant movers among TRC Global Rankings for owners in 2017.

Big Duke, Delectation, Mongolian Wolf, Red Cardinal and Tosen Stardom won races as far flung as Germany and the USA. The star turn was ex-Japanese Tosen Stardom, who joined #1 Australian trainer Darren Weir in the middle of the 2016 season and has thrived since. At Caulfield in October, he won the G1 Toorak Handicap over a mile before stepping up two furlongs for another top-level strike, the Emirates at Flemington during the Spring Carnival.

Australian Bloodstock fielded 46 runners in 2017 Group races and won two G1s, two G2s and six G3s at a 22 percent clip. That is an excellent record, which has propelled them from #105 starting the campaign to a deserving #20.

Also making a leap into the world’s top 20 owners is Kitasan Black’s owner Ono Shoji. We cannot ignore the move from #46 to #18, even though it is made entirely on the basis of having his colours carried by one of the best racehorses on the planet.

The rangy Kitasan Black won four G1s in 2017, including both Tenno Shos and the Arima Kinen. This was more than a suitable encore for his 2016 Japan Cup win and Japanese Horse of the Year title, and he now retires to Shadai Stallion Station. His owner looks sure to build off this tremendous runner’s career.

We had to include WinStar Farm in our three significant movers, even though their shrewd propensity to form partnerships with other ownership concerns causes our algorithm significant problems!

The Kentucky-based operation stands stallions including American Pharoah’s sire Pioneerof The Nile who sits at #35 in this week’s global classification of stallions. They have also raced horses such as 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer and 2016 Belmont winner Creator.

In 2017, we credited an agglomeration of their ownership concerns, ‘WinStar Farm Et Al’ with ten Graded and Group race wins, eight in the USA and two in Australia. Three of these were at the top level, notably Battle Of Midway’s success in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.



There is little point trawling through Frankel’s rapid ascent through the ranks of global stallions. Suffice to say, his progress as a sire is as unprecedented as was his racing career.

You can read further details here and here, and don’t miss Nancy Sexton’s rundown of the world’s ten most expensive stallions – which includes Frankel - here.

Champion Australian sire Snitzel really emerged in TRC Global Rankings in 2017, rising from #61 to #7 while gaining 41pts. The Arrowfield Stud stalwart produced 29 Group winners from 209 runners, a strike rate of nearly 14 percent. Six individual horses won a total of eight races at the highest level, with Redzel – the Everest winner – undoubtedly his best horse. (Note that we count The Everest as a G1 race in our classifications.)

Union Rags is a very interesting sire and one whose progress we will be charting closely in the months to come. He was a very good juvenile on dirt in 2011, training on well to win the Belmont Stakes. His first runners as a sire in 2016 made an immediate impact, and Paradise Woods, Union Strike, Dancing Rags and Free Drop Billy have all won G1s.

At the start of 2017, Union Rags was placed #259 in our rankings, but he has risen no fewer than 198 places in the last 12 months and should make further gains from the #61 slot in which he currently resides. This is a young sire to follow.

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