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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Poet's Word second only to Winx in latest world rankings

Poet's Word (far side) and Crystal Ocean dominate the finish of last month's King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot
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King George winner Poet's Word is second only to Australian wondermare Winx in the latest Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings, in which no fewer than four of the top six positions are held by British-trained runners.

The panel have awarded the Sir Michael Stoute-trained five-year-old an interim mark of 129, the same as Pegasus World Cup winner Gun Runner, who is now at stud, the pair figuring just a pound behind Winx.

Stablemate Crystal Ocean, beaten a neck by Poet's Word at Ascot, is fourth-best on 128, clear of Cracksman and Battaash, who share fifth on 125. Alpha Centauri is the highest rated Irish-trained runner on 122, in joint 13th.

Former BHA head of handicapping Phil Smith, co-chairman of the Longines committee, could not recall an occasion when Britain was so well represented and reckons it could get even better.

He said: "It's certainly unusual to have four in the top six, but last year was a very good year too, with three of the top six in the final table – Cracksman on 130, Enable on 129, and Ulysses on 126.

Battaash: could rate higher when the figures are finalised, reckons Phil Smith

"These new figures are just continuing an upwards trend, and I think it could get better because I'd be surprised if Poet's Word, Crystal Ocean and Battaash don't all rate a bit higher after we've got together to finalise the figures in Hong Kong in December.

"There's also hope that Cracksman can get close to last year's 130 when he returns to action, and we haven't even seen Enable yet."

There are significant differences between these latest Longines figures and the most recently published BHA ratings, which show Poet's Word and Crystal Ocean a pound higher, and Battaash 2lb higher.

Smith explained: "These are interim figures arrived at by up to 20 international handicappers via email and text but without discussion.

"In December there is an opportunity to present a case, which is then voted upon, and those figures will be adopted by the BHA at the end of the year."

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These new figures are just continuing an upwards trend, and I think it could get better too
E.W. Terms
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