Chacun Pour Soi crowned best chaser in Britain and Ireland with mark of 176
Chacun Pour Soi was named as the highest-rated chaser in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification on Tuesday having been assessed with a mark of 176, 4lb higher than his rating from the previous season.
The nine-year-old was rated 1lb better than Gold Cup hero Minella Indo (175), who was second overall but top of the three-mile chasing division, with Cheltenham runner-up A Plus Tard and Aintree and Punchestown winner Clan Des Obeaux sharing a rating of 172.
It is only the second time this century that a horse defeated in the Champion Chase has been named as the best in the two-mile division, with the fellow Willie Mullins-trained Douvan taking the prize in 2017 despite his disappointing defeat at the Cheltenham Festival.
Chacun Pour Soi won four races – the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase at Cork, two Grade 1s at Leopardstown and the Champion Chase at the Punchestown festival – in the 2020-21 campaign, his only defeat coming when third to Put The Kettle On at Cheltenham in March. That mare, who was receiving a 7lb allowance, was rated 159, while Champion Chase runner-up Nube Negra was given a figure of 165.
The Punchestown victory, where he recorded a career-best rating when defeating the 174-rated Allaho by five and a half lengths, was the key piece of form which swung it for Chacun Pour Soi.
With Minella Indo topping the 3m section, Allaho a clear winner of the 2m4f category and Chacun Pour Soi taking the 2m division, it was, unsurprisingly, a clean sweep for Irish-trained runners.
Al Boum Photo and Cyrname were joint top-rated on 173 in the 2019-20 Anglo-Irish Classification, but both were dropped in the ratings this time around. The former was third to Minella Indo when attempting a third Gold Cup win and drops to 170, while Cyrname, who won the Charlie Hall at Wetherby but was pulled up on his two other starts, was given a mark of 168.
The handicappers could not separate outstanding novice chasers Shishkin and Energumene, who were awarded marks of 169, while Envoi Allen, Monkfish and Royale Pagaille shared a rating of 163.
The classifications are decided by leading handicappers from the BHA and IHRB.
Andrew Shaw, senior IHRB jumps handicapper, said: “There was a clean sweep for Irish trained horses in all three steeplechase categories.
"Allaho put in a spectacular display of jumping when powering his way to victory in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. Minella Indo produced the best staying performance of the season in the Gold Cup after a couple of disappointing efforts on home soil, and Chacun Pour Soi’s electrifying display in the Champion Chase at Punchestown sees him top the overall chase division.”
Honeysuckle crowned hurdling queen with rating of 165
Honeysuckle was rated the best hurdler in Britain and Ireland after being given a mark of 165. The Henry de Bromhead-trained mare extended her unbeaten record to 12 under rules in an outstanding season, which included a destructive Champion Hurdle success.
She was in receipt of a 7lb allowance when winning the Champion Hurdle by two and a quarter lengths, but the handicappers still believe she is better than Cheltenham runner-up Sharjah, who was rated 1lb lower with a mark of 164 – the same rating as top staying hurdlers Flooring Porter and Klassical Dream.
Paisley Park was the best British hurdler with a rating of 163, a mark matched by Aramon, who has been off the track since landing the Galway Hurdle in July.
Appreciate It was the highest-rated novice hurdler on account of his 24-length romp in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, 1lb ahead of Ballymore hero Bob Olinger. My Drogo was the best novice in Britain with a rating of 155.
Interestingly, Ferny Hollow was assessed with a rating of 150 for his victory in a Gowran Park maiden hurdle in November. The 2020 Champion Bumper winner defeated Bob Olinger by a length at Gowran, a run which was his only outing of the season.
Andrew Mealor, BHA hurdles team leader, said: “Overall, 2020-21 was another low-key season for the established hurdlers in ratings terms, with Honeysuckle the only hurdler to rate 165+, although we did see some standout performances in the novice division, notably at Cheltenham from Appreciate It (160) and Bob Olinger (159), who both top their respective categories."
Shaw added: “Honeysuckle was the standout hurdler of the season in an unbeaten campaign which resulted in four Grade 1 victories from as many starts, with the highlight being her scintillating display in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, earning her the season’s highest mark of 165.
"Her rate of improvement over the past couple of years would indicate there is every chance she could better that figure next season.”
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