It's official: Many Clouds top staying chaser of 2016-17
Many Clouds was the top-rated staying chaser in 2016-17 according to the official Anglo-Irish jumps classifications, which were released on Wednesday.
The Oliver Sherwood-trained chaser was handed a mark of 171 for his thrilling defeat of Thistlecrack in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January. However, there was a tragic postscript to the race when Many Clouds collapsed and died.
The 2015 Grand National winner was hugely popular and was posthumously crowned Racing Post Jumps Horse of the Year.
Many Clouds was rated 1lb higher than Thistlecrack and 2lb above Gold Cup winner Sizing John in the staying chase division.
The Willie Mullins-trained Douvan is the highest-rated jumps horse in Britain and Ireland on a mark of 174, with Arkle winner Altior also rated among the best chasers on 170.
Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air leads the way over hurdles with a rating of 169, 2lb above Unowhatimeanharry and Nichols Canyon.
The BHA's head of handicapping Phil Smith said: "Douvan improved his rating from 169 to 174 thanks to a scintillating performance at Leopardstown over Christmas when he beat the future Gold Cup winner. That was Sizing John’s first run of the season and his only defeat and although he clearly improved for stepping up in trip, he is no slouch at two miles."
Smith added: "The most significant aspect last season was the aggressive and successful way the top novice chasers were campaigned. The number of novice chasers included at 140+ was up 18 compared with the previous season."
David Dickinson, BHA handicapper for two-mile hurdlers, said: "The decision to bring Buveur D'Air back from a novice chase career proved a masterstroke, as his slick jumping of the smaller obstacles saw him run to a perfectly respectable Stan James Champion Hurdle winning figure of 167, a figure he improved on by a couple of pounds over two and a half miles at Aintree, with a more authoritative success over his luckless stable companion My Tent Or Yours."