Douvan gets narrow vote over Altior despite Cheltenham defeat
Despite a below-par performance in the Champion Chase, Douvan (RPR 178) was on Wednesday officially deemed the highest rated jumper of the 2016-17 season. He also tops the list on Racing Post Ratings, although the gap to star novice Altior (177) is arguably not as great as the official line of 4lb would suggest.
The official handicappers seem reluctant to rate a novice higher than 170, and both Altior and King George winner Thistlecrack (176) have been allocated that benchmark figure.
Thus, while the gap between Altior and Champion Chase winner Special Tiara is a fairly meaty 7lb on RPRs, the official line is that there was only 3lb between the pair.
Among the staying chasers, Many Clouds tops the official list on the basis of his Trials Day defeat of Thistlecrack. Racing Post Ratings prefer both Thisltecrack's King George win and stablemate Cue Card's wide-margin defeat of Coneygree in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Many Clouds (174) shares joint fourth spot with multiple Grade 1 winner Sizing John.
Both sets of ratings have Thistlecrack at the head of the staying novices ahead of Our Duke (172) and Might Bite (170). Similarly Yorkhill (165) tops both lists at the intermediate distance for novices, but the same category for senior chasers sees Cue Card rated 2lb superior to Fox Norton (174) on Racing Post Ratings as opposed to 1lb inferior in the official tables.
From a historical point of view Many Clouds is officially the lowest- rated top staying chaser since Florida Pearl was allocated the same mark in 2002. Admittedly, it probably wasn't a vintage season for staying chasers, but there is a suspicion that it is becoming more difficult to earn the sort of lofty figures that were fairly common place just a few years ago.
His Cheltenham flop apart, most form students would rate Douvan as a well above-average leading two-mile chaser. The official line is that he is only as good as 2010 division topper Big Zeb and only 1lb superior to 2006 two-mile champion Newmill.
Among the hurdlers there were no prizes for guessing that Buveur D'Air topped both divisions, while, unsurprisingly, both sets of ratings see Labaik at the overall head of the novice ranks with Presenting Percy and West Approach sharing top spot among the stayers.
Cue Card 176
Fox Norton 174
Un De Sceaux
Our Duke 172
Might Bite 170
San Benedeto 163
Ball D'Arc 162
Road To Respect
Buveur D'Air 171
Camping Ground 168
My Tent Or Yours 165
Presenting Percy 156
Champagne Classic 153
Neon Wold 152