The towering achievements last weekend of the mighty force that is the Coolmore racing and breeding operation clearly take pride of place in the latest update to the TRC Global Rankings, although we must also take note of impressive work by two young South African jockeys.
Up at the sharp end of the standings, Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Guineas double (Churchill in the 2,000, Winter in the 1,000), plus a G3 at the Curragh on Sunday, means he is now a huge 20 points clear of second-ranked Bob Baffert in the trainers’ rankings - even though Baffert strengthened his own position with Cupid’s victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes on Saturday.
Cupid, mind you, is owned, like Churchill and Winter, by Coolmore Partners, so you won’t be surprised to see that they gained five points week on week and are now 17 ahead of Godolphin at the top of the owners’ standings.
The Gold Cup winner is a son of Tapit, but Churchill and Winter, and the other Irish G1 winner at the weekend, the British-trained Decorated Knight, are by Galileo, who has consequently forged 12 points clear of Deep Impact at the head of affairs in the sires’ rankings. Tapit remains a strong fourth.
Churchill’s, incidentally, was the performance of the week on Racing Post Ratings. The colt was given a mark of 125, which makes him the highest rated 3-year-old in the world so far in 2017. Always Dreaming was given a rating of 124 for winning the Kentucky Derby.
Galileo is also responsible for the 3-year-old filly Terrakova, promising G3 winner at Saint-Cloud in France last Tuesday for the Wertheimer brothers and Freddy Head, and, perhaps more interestingly, a daughter of three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine Goldikova.
Of course, Ryan Moore was aboard both Guineas winners - and he notched two other Group-race successes - so he gains five points week on week, quite a haul when you are already world #1. It’s tough at the top of the jockeys’ rankings right now, though: Moore may have gained five points, but he still lost ground to second-ranked Hugh Bowman.
The Aussie’s haul last week was headlined by two Group 1s - one in Hong Kong (Werther in the Champions and Chater Cup at Sha Tin) and one in Australia (Clearly Innocent in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm). He gained six points in all.
Bowman is seven points adrift of Moore at present, but he may have a hard time hanging onto those coat tails next week: Moore is expected to ride the hot favourite for tomorrow’s Epsom Oaks (Rhododendron), the favourite for the G1 Coronation Cup on the same card (Highland Reel), and Cliffs Of Moher, likely favourite for the Epsom Derby on Saturday.
In South Africa, meanwhile, 31-year-old S’manga Khumalo is the week’s biggest climber anywhere in the world, gaining 22 points and climbing 124 places to #123 in the jockeys’ standings after winning two G1s for the leading trainer Sean Tarry on a quality card at Scottsville on Saturday. That meant a 12-point gain for Tarry himself. He is now world #36 (he was already #1 in South Africa).
Khumalo moves up to fifth in the South African jockeys’ standings, two places behind 20-year-old Callan Murray, already identified as a TRC Emerging Talent.
Murray, of course, has just begun a stint in the pressure cooker environment that is Hong Kong, and he’s already making his mark there. Remember, he was just world #269 before he rode a G1 treble at Turffontein on May 6. This week he has risen to #94 after gaining seven points thanks largely to his win on Lucky Year in the G3 Sha Tin Vase. Not that it makes any difference to ranking points, but at 89-1 Lucky Year was the complete outsider in a field of ten.
Trainer Danny Shum told Michael Cox in the South China Morning Post that he had offered the ride to at least two other jockeys who could have made the weight. “Nobody wanted to ride him, so I guess Callan got lucky, but he took his chance and that result could make a big difference in the long run.”
Murray is debating whether to apply for a full Hong Kong licence for next season. The win may help him make up his mind.
Click here for a list of the week’s biggest points gainers.
Click here for a list of the week’s group and graded winners, including ratings.