01/10/2011 5:20PM

Harbinger a clear choice in World Thoroughbred Rankings

Racing Post
Harbinger was named the 2010 highweight at 135, six pounds clear of runner-up Blame.

Harbinger overwhelmed his competition as he was named the highweight horse on the 2010 World Thoroughbred Rankings at 135, six pounds clear of runner-up Blame and seven pounds better than co-3-year-old champions Makfi and Workforce. By comparison, Goldikova and Zenyatta, finalists along with Blame in the Eclipse Award Horse of the Year contest, were pegged at 125, placing them in a three-way tie with Twice Over as sixth best older horses in the world.

Determined by a committee composed of national handicappers and leading racing secretaries from all of the world’s most prominent racing nations under the jurisdiction of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the World Thoroughbred Rankings reflect each horse’s best annual performance. They also serve as the official championship ratings in Europe.

Trained by Michael Stoute for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, Harbinger was perfect in four 2010 starts, culminating his season with a fantastic 11-length triumph in the 1 1/2-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 24. A fractured leg subsequently forced him into retirement. By comparison, Sea the Stars was rated 136 on the 2009 WTR list.

Blame received a 129 rating for his head victory over Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He is thus the highest-rated North American horse and the highest-rated horse in the world on dirt. Quality Road was pegged at 128 for both his 12 3/4-length romp in the Donn Handicap, and his weight-giving second-place finish to Blame in the Whitney Handicap. A second-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe gave Nakayama Festa the fourth spot in the older horse category at 127 as well as the Japanese championship.

Although rated just sixth among older horses, Goldikova and Zenyatta share the title as the world’s leading older filly or mare. Goldikova earned her 125 in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Zenyatta in both the Vanity Handicap and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Last year, Goldikova earned a 130 rating and Zenyatta 128.

Four-for-four in group race sprints in Australia, Black Caviar was rated the best sprinter in the world at 123 for a four-length victory in Flemington’s Patinack Farm Classic. That was a pound higher than Hong Kong Sprint winner J J The Jet Plane.

The Bart Cummings-trained So You Think, who was rated 126 along with Rip Van Winkle in the Intermediate Division (1 1/8 miles to 1 3/8 miles), earned top stayer honors at 122 for the Melbourne Cup in which he finished 3 1/4 lengths third while giving three pounds to the victorious Americain, who was pegged at 121 along with Japan’s best female, Buena Vista; Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Dangerous Midge; and the highweighted American-trained turf horse Gio Ponti.

The judges rated Makfi’s 2 1/2-length upset of Goldikova in the Prix Jacques Le Marois the equal of both Workforce’s seven-length win in the Epsom Derby and his head Arc triumph at 128. That makes them world co-champion 3-year-olds and makes Makfi the best turf miler as well. Three-time Group 1-winning miler Canford Cliffs ranks second among 3-year-olds at 127. Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya and Haskell Invitational winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic fourth Lookin At Lucky are the co-champion American 3-year-olds at 124. Surprisingly, Eskendereya had not been rated in the top 50 WTR table released on Nov. 8, while Lookin At Lucky’s rating at that time had been 123.

French fillies Lily of the Valley and Sarafina are the co-high-rated 3-year-old fillies at 121; Lily of the Valley for her Prix de l’Opera score, and French Oaks winner Sarafina for her Arc third. That is one pound better than four-time international Group 1 winner Snow Fairy. Blind Luck and Harmonious share the title of best American sophomore filly at 117.

The WTRs for 2-year-olds are restricted to horses trained in Europe. The judges ruled that the David Simcock-trained Dream Ahead’s nine-length victory in the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes was the equal of the Henry Cecil-trained Frankel’s 2 1/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes, leaving them in a tie as champion European juvenile. Those ratings illustrate the singular nature of the WTR system as Frankel beat Dream Ahead by 6 3/4 lengths into fifth in the Dewhurst. Hooray, trained by Mark Prescott to a 4 1/2-length tally in the six-furlong Cheveley Park Stakes, earned a 116 rating as champion European juvenile filly, three pounds higher than two-time Group 1 winner Misty For Me.