York On Top Of The World

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The stands may have been empty but York hosted the world's top race of 2020, the Juddmonte International | racingfotos.com

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York's G1 Juddmonte International S. didn't just provide the world's best 130-rated performance of 2020 for Ghaiyyath (Ire) but, with its stellar back-up cast of seven-time Group 1 winner Magical (Ire), the G1 St James's Palace S. winner Lord North (Ire) and 2000 Guineas hero Kameko, the race was also judged to be the Longines World's Best Horse Race last year on ratings.

Along with announcing the World's Best Racehorse Rankings on Tuesday, Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) also published the list of top 100 Group 1 and Grade 1 races of the year. It is the first time that the Juddmonte International has achieved this accolade and its rating of 125.25 was derived from the average rating of the first four finishers in the race.

William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course at York Racecourse, said, “This is a huge honour and a thrill. It's what we're all about at York Racecourse in terms of trying to attract the very best horses and jockeys to race on the Knavesmire. We're thrilled to be named number one against all the wonderful races around the global sport of horseracing.”

He continued, “We're incredibly grateful to Longines and the IFHA for compiling these ratings, ranking every [Group/Grade 1] race around the world based on the first four horses home. To come top of that pile is a huge honour. We're delighted and grateful for their support, and that of the connections of every horse, and Juddmonte Farms, without whom we wouldn't be able to stage such a magnificent race for everyone to enjoy.”

The QIPCO Irish Champion S. at Leopardstown, in which Magical turned the tables on Ghaiyyath, was the second highest-rated race in the world last year on 124.75, with Armory (Ire) and subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (Fr) completing the first four.

With Japan's darling of the racecourse, Almond Eye (Jpn) set to make her swansong, the Japan Cup of 2020 was always going to be special, not least because the field also featured the two best 3-year-olds in the country, Triple Crown winner Contrail (Jpn) and Triple Tiara winner Daring Tact (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}). The star trio crossed the line in that order in Tokyo, with Curren Bouquetd'or (Jpn) (Dee Impact {Jpn}) in fourth to make the Japan Cup the third top race of the year on 124.50.

Japan had two races in the top five, the other being the Tenno Sho, which was joint-fourth with the Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland on 123.75. Also making the top ten were the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, Tokyo's Yasuda Kinen, the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, the QIPCO Champion S. at Ascot, and the Arima Kinen, run at Nakayama.

Churchill Downs staged both the highest-rated race in the world for fillies only, the Kentucky Oaks (119.25), won by Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil), and the highest-rated race reserved for 3-year-olds, the Kentucky Derby (121.25), won by subsequent Breeders' Cup Classic hero Authentic.

Among the 11 countries in the list of top Group/Grade 1 races run at 40 different racecourses, Australia, with 25, was the world leader, followed by Britain (18), Japan (14), America (13), France (9), Hong Kong (9), South Africa (6), Ireland (4), Germany (3), Argentina (1), and New Zealand (1). The 2020 list of top races stretches to 103 contests owing to a six-way tie for the 98th spot.

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