The world’s top trainers go into overdrive

Earthlight (Mickael Barzalona) is just too good for Raffle Prize (Frankie Dettori) in the Prix Morny at Deauville for red-hot trainer Andre Fabre. Photo: John Gilmore

The world’s top ten trainers – as formally established by the TRC Global Rankings algorithm – compiled an extraordinary record in the week that ended on Sunday. They absolutely dominated the most important races across the world, winning no fewer than 16 Group/Graded races.

In fact, our top four coming into the week – Chad Brown, John Gosden, Charlie Appleby and Bob Baffert – combined to win ten races from 16 starts, a strike rate of 62.5 percent.

Furthermore, this seismic activity catalysed a change at the top. Amazingly, despite Brown winning four of those races from six runners and seeing his Performance Index increase by three points to yet another career high, he is actually passed once again by Gosden, whose three wins from four races provide information about his future performance we consider just a shade more reliable, it coming in deeper races against rivals we ranked higher themselves.

There is nothing in it at the top. Gosden and Brown have alternated in the #1 spot for the last month, pressed by Charlie Appleby, who held the lead after a stellar 2018 in which he saddled G1 winners in seven different countries.

The table below shows how TRC Global Rankings rated the world's leading trainers before this week, and it condenses their performance figures. Finally, their change in Performance Index is included. This week's Index (not shown) is thus last week's (shown in the shaded colum) plus this change:

Top ten trainers last week - and how their runners fared

Brown’s three winners this week were the G1 Del Mark Oaks (Cambier Parc), the G1 Alabama (Dunbar Road) and the G2 Lake Placid Stakes (Regal Glory), both at sloppy Saratoga.

Impressive though this is, we think Gosden’s results are even better: across the Atlantic, the Newmarket trainer annexed the G1 Jean Romanet and the G2 Nonette at Deauville and the G3 Sovereign at Salisbury. Note that TRC Rankings does not care about the names of races or their grading (we use these for convenience) but weighs performances by the quality of the horses defeated, and the rankings of the jockeys, owners, trainers and sires taking part.

Ranking changes (shown in the rightmost column of the table) are proportional to the so-called ‘statistical shock’ of this week’s results when placed in the context of the trainer’s record in the three-year window. For this reason, the biggest change to the performance index of a trainer was allotted to one of Europe’s all-time greats, Andre Fabre

Fabre, joint sixth entering the week with Saeed bin Suroor (whose runners were idle in Group races over the period) unleashed four winners, as if the seven-times Arc winner were recapitulating his heyday.

Primacy among these must go to G1 Prix Morny victor Earthlight, who defeated the Mark Johnston-trained filly Raffle Prize by only a neck but was nonetheless seriously impressive. First, the runner-up is top class in her own right. Second, the Deauville going was far too soft for Earthlight and only the power of his stride and the purpose of his racing character enabled him to prevail.

Mention of Earthlight leads neatly to one of the stars of European bloodstock, 2019: his sire, and that of the other top 2-year-old colt, Pinatubo, the 17-year-old Darley stallion Shamardal who stands at Kildangan Stud in Ireland. We need not go on about him anymore, I think you will agree, judging by this and this and this.

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