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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Watch Winx and more: ten of the world's very best

International editor Nicholas Godfrey with a list of leading overseas performers

Winx: will be the star turn at Randwick
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6yo m Street Cry - Vegas Showgirl
Trainer Chris Waller (Australia)
Jockey Hugh Bowman
Owner Magic Bloodstock, RG Treweeke & Mrs DN Kepitis
Racing Post Rating (RPR) 130; Official rating (OR) 132
2017 record 9 wins from 9 starts
Prize-money £3,675,877

Winx comes out joint top-rated on RPRs with Gun Runner and Arrogate – remember she'd be getting weight in a race as well – but fully deserves top spot thanks to her history-making efforts in Australia, where she became only the second horse to complete a hat-trick in Cox Plate, Australasia's premier weight-for-age contest.

Okay, a half-length victory wasn't the stuff of legend – and she had made us sweat elsewhere thanks to her dramatic come-from-behind style – but it's hard to quibble with a perfect nine-out-of-nine record in 2017.

It featured six Group 1s, among them Queen Elizabeth Stakes, highlight of The Championships at Randwick, which extended a famous winning streak to 22, achieved at a variety of distances on all types of ground. Put simply, she is a phenomenon; in terms of legacy, it really should matter whether she comes to Europe.

Gun Runner

4yo c Candy Ride - Quiet Giant
Trainer Steve Asmussen (USA)
Jockey Florent Geroux
Owner Winchell Thoroughbreds & Three Chimneys
RPR 130 OR 129
2017 record 5 wins from 6 starts
Prize-money £5,691,626

Certain to be named America's Horse of the Year after flawless domestic campaign, having cast all before him at home after finishing second in Dubai World Cup, in which Arrogate seemingly put him in his place.

Subsequently, his four runaway successes – which he won by a total of 28 lengths – included three Grade 1s (Stephen Foster Handicap, Whitney and Woodward) before dominant victory in Breeders' Cup Classic, a victory which ensured his championship status.

Gun Runner is set to be retired after contesting the second running of world's richest race, the $16m Pegasus World Cup, at Gulfstream Park on January 27.


4yo c Unbridled's Song - Bubbler
Trainer Bob Baffert (USA)
Jockey Mike Smith
Owner Juddmonte Farms
RPR 130 OR 134
2017 record 2 wins from 5 starts
Prize-money £10,843,902

Despite controversy, Arrogate may yet be identified as world champion for 2017 at next month's World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings by virtue of stellar efforts early in the year.

His ultra-lucrative winning spree was extended with utterly dominant display in first running of Pegasus World Cup, which was followed by a spectacular performance amid adverse circumstances in Dubai.

He had become richest money earner of all-time – and achieved form in excess of Triple Crown hero American Pharoah – but the horse dubbed America's King Croesus by Meydan racecaller Terry Spargo blotted his copybook thereafter with a trio of lacklustre efforts at Del Mar.

Maybe he just didn't like the track, or maybe he'd fallen out of love with the game. He still recorded the fastest final sectional when fifth at Breeders' Cup, but exited the scene for stud duties with a tarnished reputation. It's a case of thanks for the memories if ever there was one.

Kitasan Black

5yo h Black Tide - Sugar Heart
Trainer Hisashi Shimizu (Japan)
Jockey Yutaka Take
Owner Ono Shoji
RPR 125 OR 123
2017 record 4 wins from 6 starts
Prize-money £5,600,969

The reigning Japanese Horse of the Year added further lustre to his glorious record with four more Grade 1 wins to take his career tally to seven.

He won the Osaka Hai and both the spring and autumn editions of the Tenno Sho, over 2m and 1m2f respectively, before an emotional farewell success in the end-of-season grand prix, the Arima Kinen.

Kitasan Black never raced abroad but grew into a huge fan favourite at home, and deservedly so: he broke track record in spring Tenno Sho but produced better form in autumn edition, beating a tip-top field featuring a multitude of Grade 1 winners and Classic winners.

Kitasan Black was hot favourite to complete back-to-back successes in the Japan Cup and looked sure to win entering straight but was run down in final furlong after adopting his customary front-running tactics – he reportedly lost a shoe – before becoming highest earner in Japan Racing Association history when winning the Arima Kinen.


5yo g Snitzel - Millrich
Trainer Peter & Paul Snowden (Australia)
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy
Owner Triple Crown syndicate, Walfam No 2 et al
RPR 126 OR 121
2017 record 6 wins from 8 starts
Prize-money £4,311,725

Unbeaten in six starts since a pair of second places in Sydney at start of year, Redzel leaped to the forefront of Australia's fierce sprint division with a decisive victory in the first running of the A$10m Everest, the world's richest race on turf, at Randwick in October.

He showed he belonged right at top of tree with a breathtaking performance at Melbourne a month later on final day of spring carnival.

The story of the horse is a remarkable one, Redzel was orphaned at birth and his syndicate owners (among them Peter Piras, who is battling cancer) have captured the imagination. An overseas campaign has almost been ruled out for 2018 and the Everest is again likely to dominate his programme.

Cloth Of Stars

4yo c Sea The Stars - Strawberry Fledge
Trainer Andre Fabre (France)
Jockey Mickael Barzalona
Owner Godolphin SNC
RPR 126 OR 125
2017 record 3 wins from 5 starts
Prize-money £1,245,402

A soft-ground performer who improved with maturity, Cloth Of Stars enjoyed a creditable four-year-old season, during which he was never worse than second in five starts.

He had rattled up an early-season Group-race hat-trick by May 1, culminating in first top-level success in Prix Ganay, where he held off the late challenge of Zarak after a troubled passage. S

He saw out the 1m4f trip well when beaten after a break in a messy Prix Foy before he produced a career-best effort when closing late to claim second in Arc, a couple of lengths adrift of Enable.

World Approval

5yo g Northern Afleet - Win Approval
Trainer Mark Casse (USA)
Jockey John Velazquez
Owner Live Oak Plantation
RPR 123 OR 123
2017 record 5 wins from 6 starts
Prize-money £1,634,685

He doesn't quite make a global top ten in pure ratings terms but earns his place here after developing into top-class US turf horse.

He achieved a Grade 1 hat-trick which culminated in a decisive victory in Breeders' Cup Mile, where he stormed home from a field which was mostly made up of European visitors – Lancaster Bomber did best, beaten length and a quarter into second.

He won five out of six altogether in 2017 for Tepin's trainer Mark Casse, and may attempt to emulate that formidable mare with a visit to Royal Ascot for the Queen Anne Stakes.

A repeat success at next year's Breeders' Cup, however, is his principal target, with the Dubai Turf another option being considered early on.

Mr Stunning

5yo g Exceed And Excel - With Fervour
Trainer John Size (HK)
Jockey Nash Rawiller
Owner Maurice Koo Win Chong
RPR 125 OR 121
2017 record 6 wins from 10 starts
Prize-money £2,412,618

Mr Stunning just gets the nod over Hong Kong Cup winner Time Warp as the region's representative from their international meeting here, following odds-on success in Hong Kong Sprint over 6f, where he held off stablemate DB Pin.

Time Warp was the more impressive visually speaking, he was helped by a fine tactical ride but remains 6lb adrift of Mr Stunning on RPRs after the latter landed his seventh course success at Sha Tin from a quality field.

Admittedly, sprinters tend to get a built-in advantage – for instance, Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Roy H stands on a massive 128.

This year Mr Stunning made excellent progress overall, also winning pair of course-and-distance Group 2s (including from double-digit draw in main Hong Kong Sprint trial) and looks sure to be a force to be reckoned with when he's sent on his travels, with Dubai's Al Quoz Sprint an obvious early target.


4yo c Medaglia D'Oro - Magic Mission
Trainer Andre Fabre (France)
Jockey Mikael Barzalona
Owner Godolphin
RPR 118 OR 122
Prize-money £2,346,642

Only middling form at home in France – although he won a Group 2 over 1m6f – where conditions rarely suit him, but Talismanic blossomed when meeting faster ground on the international stage at end of year.

He surprised many people when putting up a career-best effort when produced between horses for a narrow victory in Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar.

He showed a good turn of foot after a ground-saving trip, but there was no fluke about it, as the subsequent second to Highland Reel in Hong Kong amply demonstrated. He looks type to thrive on global stage next term, with US turf racing offering obvious opportunities.

10 Rapper Dragon

4yo g Street Boss - Swing Dance
Trainer John Moore (HK)
Jockey Joao Moreira
Owner Albert Hung Chao Hong
RPR 115 OR 117
2017 record 4 wins, 5 starts
Prize-money £2,501,567

Described as the "people's hero" after a tragic demise in May, Rapper Dragon would not be anywhere near the top ten on handicap marks but deserves a place after leaving an indelible impression in becoming first horse to sweep all three legs of Hong Kong's lucrative Four-Year-Old 'Classic' series (Classic Mile, Classic Cup, Hong Kong Derby).

He then gained another Group 2 victory against his elders in the Chairman's Trophy. The sky was the limit for this hugely talented horse before he fractured his pelvis during the Champions Mile and could not be saved, leaving a massive hole in the Hong Kong racing scene.

Named Hong Kong's Horse of the Year posthumously in July, when he also landed 'Most Popular Horse' title, he had 57 per cent of the public vote and is much missed.



1 Cracksman (GB) 131

2 Arrogate (USA) 130

=Gun Runner (USA) 130

=Winx (AUS) 130

5 Enable (GB) 129

6 Battaash (GB) 128

=Harry Angel (GB) 128

=Roy H (USA) 128

9 Ulysses (GB) 127

10 Cloth Of Stars (FR) 126

=Collected (USA) 126

=Drefong (USA) 126

=Redzel (AUS) 126

=Ribchester (GB) 126


1 Cracksman (GB) 131

2 Winx (AUS) 130

3 Enable (GB) 129

4 Battaash (GB) 128

=Harry Angel (GB) 128

6 Ulysses (GB) 127

7 Cloth Of Stars (FR) 126

=Redzel (AUS) 126

=Ribchester (GB) 126

10 Beauty Only (HK) 125

=Churchill (IRE) 125

=Kitasan Black (JPN) 125

=Mr Stunning (HK) 125

=Order Of St George (IRE) 125

DIRT (all USA)

1 Arrogate 130

=Gun Runner 130

3 Roy H 128

4 Collected 126

=Drefong 126

6 Mind Your Biscuits 125

=Mor Spirit 125

=Sharp Azteca 125

9 Always Dreaming 124

=Imperial Hint


1 Arrogate (USA) £10,843,902

2 Gun Runner (USA) £5,691,626

3 Kitasan Black (JPN) £5,600,969

4 Redzel (AUS) £4,311,725

Enable (GB) £3,809,888

Winx (AUS) £3,675,877

7 Cheval Grand (JPN) £3,353,135

8 Vivlos (JPN) £3,188,366

9 Jack Hobbs (GB) £2,926,829

10 Rey De Oro (JPN) £2,865,412

Read all about Arrogate and financial arms race in global racing – plus a sizzling year of racing - in the new edition of the Racing Post Annual, which has 208 colour pages packed with the best stories and pictures of 2017. Click here to order or call 01933 304858


Put simply, she is a phenomenon; in terms of legacy, it really should matter whether she comes to Europe
E.W. Terms
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