With summer racing in the southern hemisphere and the Dubai World Cup Carnival in full swing over the rankings period it was no surprise that ARF trained gallopers figured so prominently, however it also recognition of the depth of talent within ARD jurisdictions.
The Chris Waller trained five-year-old Street Cry mare Winx (AUS) shared the honour of the top ranking with American dirt galloper Arrogate (USA) with a rating of 127.
The mare, who finished 2016 as the highest rated turf horse and highest rated filly/mare in the world, tuned up for her 2016 Sydney Carnival campaign with victories in the Group 2 The Star Apollo Stakes over 1400m followed by the Group 1 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes over 1600m with both races at Randwick.
Winx will start again at Rosehill in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on Saturday, March 18th, as she attempts to win her 16th consecutive victory.
This last Saturday Winx had an exhibition gallop between races at Rosehill and prominent Sydney and last year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode the mare in the gallop with regular rider Hugh Bowman riding at Flemington.
It not often that an exhibition gallop captures attention of an entire race course on race day, but Rosehill was totally focused on Winx and after the gallop McEvoy was able to give his impression of riding the champion mare.
They had picked up the speed from the 1200m and again from the top of the straight and galloping in the centre of the track Winx came home over the final 600m in 34.61 on the Soft 7 track.
The stands, packed with patrons on every level, erupted in applause as the mare went past.
“I was pretty pleased to get the call up to do the job and she is in good order,” said McEvoy.
“She has that aura about her and she rides a lot bigger and stronger than what she looks. She is a well-oiled machine and pleasing to sit on her.
“It is not often you get to sit on the highest rated horse in the world,” he said.
“It is incredible that there is such appreciation where a horse is just having a gallop. Kerrin just said prior to getting on that despite having a good book of rides he was sitting at home last night thinking about galloping Winx instead of his book of rides which is quite incredible,” said Waller stable spokesman Charlie Duckworth.
Back to the Rankings and sitting in the third spot is the Australian trained Hartnell (GB) on 123. The Authorized gelding has chased Winx on a number of occasions, including finishing second behind her in the Apollo.
Japan’s Satono Crown (JPN) at 120 earned his rating with his victory in the Kyoto Kinen (G2), which he won by 1 ¼ lengths over Smart Layer and Makahiki (JPN) . It was his first start of the year, after ending 2016 with a half-length victory over Highland Reel in the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (G1).
Nine horses sit a joint fifth at 119 in the first rankings of the year with Australia represented by Black Heart Bart (AUS), Chautauqua (AUS) and Le Romain (AUS); Hong Kong runners include Amazing Kids (NZ), Helene Paragon (FR), and Peniaphobia (IRE); South Africa is represented by its reigning Horse of the Year Legal Eagle (SAF); and the United Arab Emirates-based Ertijaal (IRE).
Just below that group on 118 is South Africa’s Trip To Heaven (SAF) and Whisky Baron (AUS) and Hong Kong’s Werther (NZ).