St Mark's Basilica Tops European 2YO Rankings

St Mark's Basilica beats stable-mate Wembley in the Dewhurst |

For the eleventh time, Aidan O'Brien was responsible for the European Champion 2-year-old, with St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) having topped the official classifications for 2020 on a mark of 120.

The colt, a half-brother to 2000 Guineas winner and young Coolmore stallion Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), is the seventh consecutive winner of the G1 Darley Dewhurst S. to be named as the top-rated juvenile in Europe.

St Mark's Basilica's stable-mate Wembley (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who was runner-up in both the Dewhurst and the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S., was joint-second in the rankings along with Supremacy (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}), who is trained by Clive Cox and won the G1 Juddmonte Middle Park S. to be the top-rated British-based colt on 118.

St Mark's Basilica is the latest in a long line of European 2-year-old champions, dating back to Fasliyev in 1999, to emerge from the Aidan O'Brien academy,” said IHRB Handicapper Mark Bird. “We rated his effort in landing the Darley Dewhurst Stakes as marginally the best form shown by a European 2-year-old in 2020 and just ahead of that shown by the 12 other Group 1-winning 2-year-olds in Europe this year.”

He added, “At this stage of his career, he rates higher than his half-brother Magna Grecia, who won the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, and he appears to hold every chance of emulating his sibling in winning that event in 2021, with normal progression as a 3-year-old.”

The BHA's Handicapper Graeme Smith noted, “Supremacy became the latest in a long line of Group 1-winning sprinters to emerge from Clive Cox's stable over the last decade and achieved a rating of 118 when defeating the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Lucky Vega in a deep looking Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes. Very well bought for £65,000, he was the standout British-trained juvenile from Goodwood onwards and went into winter quarters as the highest-rated 2-year-old his prolific trainer has ever handled.”

The top-rated juvenile in France in 2020 was Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}), the impressive winner of the G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for Frederic Rossi and owners Haras de la Gousserie and Guy Pariente, for which he was awarded a mark of 116.

There was a three-way tie to be the best juvenile filly of 2020 between Pretty Gorgeous (Fr) (Lawman {Fr}), Shale (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), all of whom were rated 113.

Pretty Gorgeous and Shale, trained respectively by Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien, clashed in their last four starts, with the former winning both the G2 ARM Holding Debutante S. and G1 bet365 Fillies' Mile, while Shale triumphed in the G3 Frank Conroy Silver Flash S. and G1 Moyglare Stud S., with Pretty Gorgeous in second on both occasions.

Campanelle, trained in America by Wesley Ward for Stonestreet Stables, built on her success in the G2 Queen Mary S. at Royal Ascot to win the G1 Darley Prix Morny.

The highest-rated filly in Britain, on 112, was Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never), winner of the G1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park S. for Andrew Balding and Jeff Smith. Two French-trained fillies were given the equal mark of 110: the G1 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac winner Tiger Tanaka (Ire) and Plainchant (Fr), winner of the G2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte. The fillies are respectively by the Rathasker Stud father-and-son team of Clodovil (Ire) and Gregorian (Ire).

Eleven of the top 25 juveniles in Europe are trained In Ireland, with five of those being from Aidan O'Brien's stable. Ten are trained in Britain, while three are in France and one in America.

In 2019, European champion 2-year-old Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal) was awarded a rating of 128, the second-highest since Celtic Swing (GB) (Damister) was rated 130 in 1994. Noting the difficulty of the 2020 Flat season, with the coronavirus pandemic delaying its start by two months, Mark Bird added, “In summary, 2020 could not be said to have been a vintage year for 2-year-olds. While numerically, the 44 horses that made the Classifications are in line with recent averages, the truncated nature of the season and the slightly muddled nature of some of the form lines mean that the Champion juveniles of the year rank at the lower end of the historical scale.”


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