British Champions Day at Ascot got off to a flying start seven years ago: the sun shined and Frankel romped. This year, the sun is a distant memory and Frankel is a stallion, but it is good that some things never change – the quality of the Qipco-sponsored meeting.
Each year, top-notch racing and head-to-head competition between the leading jockeys, owners, trainers and sires results in significant changes to TRC Global Rankings. But what has happened in Britain in these categories since last year’s Champions Day?
Let’s aggregate the results of all British Group races in the intervening period and look at the ranking changes of the leading competitors involved. Who have been the leading movers and shakers on British soil?
The highlights for Frankie Dettori since last season’s British Champions Day include three wins on the G1 Ascot Gold Cup hero Stradivarius and another three on G1 Dewhurst Stakes winner Too Darn Hot, both for John Gosden.
Gosden has also supplied Oisin Murphy with his best ride, G1 Juddmonte International and Coral-Eclipse winner Roaring Lion.
William Buick’s improved standing has come about through his partnership with fellow Godolphin representative Charlie Appleby, while Donnacha O’Brien has made the most of his father Aidan’s retained rider, Ryan Moore, being absent elsewhere. The evergreen Gerald Mosse has impressed many in Britain this year, while Silvestre De Sousa has finally had some of the chances his immense talent in the saddle merits.
British winners for Coolmore Partners have been slightly harder to come by than in previous years, owing to trainer John Gosden’s concentration of high-class horses and the renewed vigour of Godolphin’s performance. All this makes the next 12 months highly interesting.
Notice how the performance of the leading four owners follows their TRC Global Ranking 12 months ago. At the time, we predicted an upsurge in Cheveley Park Stud success, and there should be more of the same on the way.
Bjorn Nielsen is the owner of Stradivarius, while Saeed Suhail has seen his blue-and-yellow livery carried with great distinction by Poet’s Word, winner of the G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the G1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, both at Ascot.
C Benham, D Whitford, L Quinn and K Quinn are owners of Sir Dancealot, a likeable 4-year-old best at seven furlongs. Trainer David Elsworth has placed him to win two G2s and a G3, enough to see the partnership rise sharply in the owner rankings, which has less strength-in-depth than the other three categories.
John Gosden has proved the dominant trainer on British soil, so why has Charlie Appleby leapfrogged him? Well, we call our rankings global for a reason. While Gosden has won 21 Group races to Appleby’s 12 in Britain, it is 3-23 elsewhere in the world.
We weight all races independently of their occasion by the quality of the horses and the success of the humans. Moreover, our research indicates that head-to-head results count for a lot and Appleby leads Gosden 22-15 in the period in question.
Otherwise, it’s been a slightly muted year for Aidan O’Brien in Britain by his own ridiculously high standards, but a good one for Sir Michael Stoute, who has marshalled multiple winners Poet’s Word, Crystal Ocean, Expert Eye and Mustashry with his well-established skill.
The remaining trainers in the table have all had solid or better years. We might look for RichardHannon to recover his previous lofty ranking (he was #9 in 2015) still further if he gets more luck: four Group winners is a fair return, but 21 placed horses strongly suggest it could have been better with more luck, slightly faster horses or both.
There is not much else to say about Dubawi and Galileo, so let’s focus elsewhere. Massively popular speed sire Kodiac has made strong gains in 2018, with multiple scorers Best Solution, Fairyland and Kessaar showcasing his potency. He is up to #58 in the latest classifications, but he is a former #27 in 2015 and could return to that level in the next 12 months.
There is more than dual Arc winner Enable to Nathaniel’s bow. It is likely no more than randomness that his other four British Group winners are also fillies, but not a coincidence that God Given, Highgarden, Pilaster and Precious Ramotswe are all middle-distance horses.
Frankel has moved up one place to #3 in the last 12 months – despite only four Group wins in Britain. For one thing, he has had 16 placed horses – second only to Galileo – and he also has pan-global reach to bolster his numbers.