Chacun Pour Soi has been crowned the best chaser trained in Britain or Ireland in the 2020/21 Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification, his brilliant William Hill Champion Chase success at Punchestown in April earning him a mark of 176.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old enjoyed an almost perfect campaign, winning four of his five starts, including the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival and the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase, another Leopardstown Grade 1, earlier in the campaign.
Defeat came in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, when Chacun Pour Soi could manage only third behind Put The Kettle On  before setting the record straight when back on home soil at Punchestown.
Chacun Pour Soi sits alone atop the standings this year, ahead of the WellChild Gold Cup winner Minella Indo, who has a mark of 175. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, Minella Indo got the better of stablemate A Plus Tard  in a memorable contest, the form given an especially solid look by the presence in third of Al Boum Photo , who was seeking a historic third consecutive win in the race.
Another brilliant Cheltenham performance came courtesy of Allaho, who set pulses racing in the Ryanair Chase to earn a mark of 174 and third place in the standings.
The highest-rated British horse in the standings is the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux, whose thrilling Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup victory in April earned a mark of 172 and rates him the equal of A Plus Tard.
Martin Greenwood, BHA Steeplechase Team Leader, said: “With Irish domination a running theme throughout the 2020/21 season, it is no surprise that they head nearly every division in the latest Anglo-Irish list, limited to performances rated 150 and above for the first time. Chacun Pour Soi is narrowly rated the top chaser on 176 (4lbs higher than last season) with stable companion Allaho rated 2lbs lower on 174 topping the middle-distance division and Minella Indo splitting the pair while finishing in pole position in the staying category. Aintree and Punchestown winner Clan des Obeaux is the only British-trained horse to feature in the 170s.”
Andrew Shaw, Senior IHRB NH Handicapper, said: “There was a clean sweep for Irish‐trained horses in all three steeplechase categories. Allaho put in a spectacular display of jumping when powering his way to victory in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. Minella Indo produced the best staying performance of the season in the Gold Cup after a couple of disappointing efforts on home soil and Chacun Pour Soi’s electrifying display in the Champion Chase at Punchestown sees him top the overall chase division.”
The 2020/21 Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications also serve to highlight the excitement to come for fans of the discipline, with a number of novices taking high rank among their more seasoned rivals.
Leading the way are Shishkin and Energumene, each earning marks of 169 during campaigns full of promise. Shishkin, switched to the larger obstacles having won the previous year’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, was undefeated in five starts, culminating with the Sporting Life Arkle Chase and Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico De Boinville.
Energumene, meanwhile, missed out on a run at Cheltenham but was otherwise unbeaten in four starts, including a pair of Grade 1s at Leopardstown and Punchestown.
Martin Greenwood, BHA Steeplechase Team Leader, said: “There are plenty of potential superstars in the novice ranks, topped by Energumene and Shishkin in the two-mile division, the pair both rated 169 and both unbeaten, the only disappointment being that they did not get the chance to race against each other.
“Three horses in the longer distance divisions are the next best, all rated 163. Royale Pagaille finished the season on a low note after finishing lame in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and both Envoi Allen and Monkfish blotted their copybooks at Punchestown.”
Shay Quinn, IHRB NH Handicapper, added: “If there was one disappointing aspect to the season, then it had to be the minor setback which ruled Energumene out of the ‘Arkle’ at Cheltenham, thus robbing us of the mouth‐watering clash between he and Shishkin. The latter strolled to victory in his absence but Energumene responded with an electrifying display in the Grade 1, 2‐mile Novice Chase at Punchestown the following month.
“No one can say for sure who is the better of the two and for now we are calling them both the same. Hopefully, we will get the answer in next year’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham, already one of the most eagerly awaited clashes at next year’s Festival.”
In the Hurdle division, it was the brilliant Honeysuckle leading the way with a rating of 165, clear of a trio of fellow Irish-trained stars on 164, Sharjah, Flooring Porter and Klassical Dream.
Andrew Mealor, BHA Hurdle team leader, said: “The hurdling scene in 2020/2021 was dominated by the Irish who were responsible for the highest-rated horses in each distance category, including in the novice division. The star of the season was undoubtedly Honeysuckle (165) whose dominant display in the Champion Hurdle was the highlight of another unbeaten campaign.
“Honours were shared in the staying division between Stayers’ Hurdle winner Flooring Porter and impressive Punchestown scorer Klassical Dream (both 164), and hot on their heels were the leading British stayers Paisley Park (163) and Thyme Hill (162) who served up a cracking finish to the Long Walk Hurdle earlier in the season.
“Overall, 2020-21 was another low-key season for the established hurdlers in ratings terms with Honeysuckle the only hurdler to rate 165+, though we did see some standout performances in the novice division, notably at Cheltenham from Appreciate It (160) and Bob Olinger (159), who both top their respective categories.
“There were some positives too for the British at Aintree. Monmiral (153) rates as the season’s best juvenile following a comprehensive success over Triumph runner-up Adagio in the Anniversary Hurdle and he has the scope to suggest he can improve further and make his mark in open company next season. My Drogo (155) is the highest-rated British novice following wide-margin wins in graded events at Kelso and Aintree and he will prove an exciting addition to the novice chasing ranks next season.”
Andrew Shaw, Senior IHRB NH Handicapper, said: “Honeysuckle was the stand‐out hurdler of the season in an unbeaten campaign which resulted in four Grade 1 victories from as many starts, with the highlight being her scintillating display in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, earning her the season’s highest mark of 165. Her rate of improvement over the past couple of years would indicate that there is every chance she could better that figure next season.”
Shay Quinn, IHRB NH Handicapper, added of the novice hurdlers: “Appreciate It was a hugely impressive winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and his rating of 160 puts him in the same bracket as some of the best winners of the race in recent years. Bob Olinger on 159 was equally impressive in the Ballymore and also has a very bright future, whether that be over hurdles or fences.
“The winner of the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham, Galopin Des Champs, showed himself to be much more than just a handicapper with a comprehensive victory in the 3‐mile Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, earning him a figure of 155, and he will be a leading player in the staying hurdle division next season if connections choose to go down that route.”
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