The Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York Racecourse has today been awarded the title of Longines World’s Best Horse Race 2020.
The race last held the accolade of the world’s highest rated contest from 2012 to 2014, before Longines’ sponsorship of the awards began.
The 2020 renewal of the Juddmonte International received a rating of 125.25 from the IFHA after Group 1 winners Ghaiyyath, Magical, Lord North and Kameko were the first four home.
York Racecourse Chief Executive, William Derby, commented: “It’s what we’re all about at York Racecourse in terms of trying to attract the very best horses and jockeys to race on The Knavesmire.
“To have those Group 1 performing horses turn up for our flagship race, the Juddmonte International, was just a thrill and an honour. To then see the race unfold with all the stories and sub-plots was a thrill for all sports fans or racing fans to witness.
“We’re delighted and really grateful to [Longines and the IFHA] for their support, and that of all the connections in the race, and Juddmonte Farms, without whom we wouldn’t be able to stage such a magnificent race for everyone to enjoy.”
Also featuring in the Top 10 Group 1 races of 2020 were the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park Racecourse (123.50) and the Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on QIPCO British Champions Day (123.00).
A total of 18 British races featured in the 2020 race rankings. Elsewhere in Europe, France secured a placing for 9 of its races, while 4 contests in Ireland and 3 in Germany also made the list.
The title of Longines World’s Best Racehorse for 2020 belongs to the winner of the 2020 Juddmonte International, Ghaiyyath (130).
Trained by Charlie Appleby at his Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket, Ghaiyyath won his first four starts in 2020, beginning with a dominant 8½ length victory in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan.
He then triumphed by 2½ lengths in the Group 1 Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup Stakes, held in 2020 at Newmarket Racecourse owing to Covid-19 related programme changes, before going on to best 2019 co-Longines World’s Best Racehorse Enable in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse.
Ghaiyyath’s 3 length victory in the International over Magical, Lord North and Kameko at York cemented his place at the top of the rankings.
Since Longines’ inaugural 2015 World Racing Awards, the World’s Best Racehorse rankings have shown that an average of 46 British-trained turf horses each year have been awarded a rating over 115. This is the joint-highest total from across the world, matched only by Australia. An average of 21 horses rated over 115 have been trained in Ireland each year, and 19 in France.
What is more, the large number of individual British trainers featuring in the list each year shows real strength in depth across the British training ranks. An average of 24 British trainers have been recognised in each of the 2015 to 2020 rankings, with a total of 21 featuring this year.
Our congratulations go to the British trainers who featured in the rankings this year: Charlie Appleby, William Haggas, John Gosden, Marcus Tregoning, Charlie Hills, Andrew Balding, Sir Michael Stoute, Roger Teal, William Muir, Kevin Ryan, Roger Varian, Alan King, James Fanshawe, Archie Watson, David Menuisier, Roger Charlton, Simon & Ed Crisford, Clive Cox, John Quinn, Mark Johnston and Henry Candy.
Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs homebred ALLMANKIND (GB) put up another relentless display of jumping to land the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase and deliver jockey Harry Skelton the first leg of a top-flight double at Sandown Park Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.
Father-and-son combination Bill and Tim Gredley’s gelding, who is still only a four-year-old after winning the Grade 1 Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow Racecourse as a three-year-old last December, is now a two-time winner over the bigger obstacles for trainer Dan Skelton after a spring heeled performance on his chasing debut at Warwick in early November.
Speaking to Great British Racing International after the race, Tim Gredley commented on his two-time Grade 1 winner’s so far faultless switch to novice chasing:
“It was great. Dan and Harry were quite disappointed at Cheltenham in the Triumph. They thought he just didn’t run his race for whatever reason, maybe it was a long year because he came straight off his three-year-old flat career straight into it, and he just didn’t sparkle at all.
“I’ve always been keen to go chasing and so has Dan. Harry was the one to convince. Giving those weight allowances away from being a Grade 1 winner over hurdles is hard. We had a chat and Harry came on board. It was their decision and they’ve made the right choice.”
Allmankind is by the highly-regarded Lanwades Stud resident SEA THE MOON, who has earned a service fee of £22,500 for the 2021 covering season, out of the SADLER’S WELLS mare WEMYSS BAY (GB), who the Gredleys picked up for 40,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2014.
When asked about the family, Gredley issued the following update:
“The full-sister is a yearling now. She’s not gone into training yet, she’s kind of taken after her brother, she’s going to take a bit of time. We realise now with the pedigree that she’s not going to win too early in her career, so there’s no rush. We might have a bit of a campaign on the flat and see where we get to, but she’s a lovely filly I must say.
“Unfortunately the foal aborted, but the mare is in foal to Ulysses and I think we’ll go back to Sea The Moon again next year as well.”
Jockey Harry Skelton followed up the success on Allmankind with a dominant display aboard POLITOLOGUE in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase, and Gredley was quick to praise the Skelton team:
“Fair play to Harry, he’s a fantastic jockey, and Dan as a trainer. They deserve everything they get.
“Through the show jumping I’ve been good friends with Nick for a long time. We’ve always had the idea to have horses with them and it’s a bit of luck that the first one to come along has won a Grade 1.
“I’ve also sent them a horse called Craylands, a filly that was with Michael Bell and then Richard Fahey. A bit of a similar profile to Allmankind, she’s a bit headstrong. She’s by Golden Horn, so she’s gone there and she’s probably going to have her first run for them in a couple of weeks’ time.”
For the first time, the winning owners of the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase will also take home a free nomination to Chapel Stud’s new National Hunt stallion PLANTEUR, who stands for a fee of £3,000.
The race was sponsored by Chapel Stud and the initiative, led by Planteur’s owner Simon Davies, intends to incentivise British breeders to follow the Gredleys’ example and use the domestic offering of stallions so as to take full advantage of the lucrative Great British Bonus scheme, which has now paid out over £250,000 in National Hunt bonuses.
Gredley, whose Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs would be classed as a Flat breeding operation but clearly has potential in the National Hunt sphere, commented:
“It’s very kind that we’ve been given the nomination, we’ll have to figure out how we manoeuvre it into the broodmare band.”
HONEYSUCKLE (GB) landed the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse for a second consecutive time this afternoon under Rachael Blackmore on the star mare’s first appearance of the season.
The five-year-old, who was bred at The Glanvilles Stud in Dorset, upheld her unbeaten record when seeing off RONALD PUMP (GB) by half a length for trainer Henry De Bromhead. The runner-up was also bred in Britain by Whitley Stud in Gloucestershire and Tony Meehan.
A daughter of six-time Group 1 winner SULAMANI, who stood at Yorton Farm in Shropshire until he died in 2017, Honeysuckle has now triumphed in all ten of her starts for owner Kenneth Alexander, five of which have been at Grade 1 level.
The mare was produced by Dr Geoffrey Guy and Guy’s co-owners and managers of The Glanvilles Stud, Doug and Lucy Procter, out of the late LANDO mare FIRST ROYAL.
Reflecting on the victory, Doug Procter told GBRI:
“It’s unbelievable really. You like to think you can breed good horses but you’d barely dare to dream that you could breed a horse to do that.
“To win the same Grade 1 two years in a row and [to be] a five time [Grade 1 winner], you’re getting into pretty rarefied company.”
“It was great that it was a British-bred one-two. It’s even more exciting that I have a mare that has got Ronald Pump in the family.
“We are always going to find it hard compared to Ireland and France because our National Hunt broodmare band is tiny by comparison. To get a one-two in a Grade 1 when you consider how comparatively few National Hunt horses we are breeding in this country is quite an achievement.”
The Glanvilles Stud is also home to Honeysuckle’s half-sister ROCK ROYAL (GB), who is in foal to Yorton Farm sire LINDA’S LAD (GB). Her MOTIVATOR (GB) filly foal at foot will soon head to the Goffs UK sales ring.
Procter also updated GBRI on Honeysuckle’s full brother LAST ROYAL (GB), who they have kept and put into training with Keiran Burke:
“He won his bumper on debut back in the summer and then went straight to a Novice Hurdle where he was second to a 130-rated horse but came back with a minor injury, but he is now back in work and is very highly thought of by the trainer.”
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