Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs has been crowned the leading Jumps horse of the 2022/23 season in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications with a rating of 179.
Energumene and Constitution Hill share the runners-up spot on a mark of 175, with the latter becoming the highest-rated British-trained hurdler since Classifications were first published in 1999/2000.
Galopin Des Champs, trained by Wille Mullins for owner Audrey Turley, won a thrilling edition of the Cheltenham Festival showpiece, which saw him jump the final fence together with Bravemansgame (172) before powering clear up the hill to win by seven lengths.
That victory followed comfortable wins in the John Durkan at Punchestown and the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and put the seven-year-old 4lbs clear of his nearest rivals at the top of the standings.
Unibet Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill remains unbeaten under Rules and his rating puts him 10lbs clear of nearest hurdles rival State Man (165), who followed him home at Cheltenham.
The six-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson for owner Michael Buckley, had a flawless season which began with comfortable wins in the Betfair Fighting Fifth and Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle pre-Cheltenham, before responding well to being stepped up in trip in the William Hill Aintree Hurdle last month.
His mark puts him just 1lb behind the only three-time Champion Hurdle-winner Istabraq (176) and racing fans will be eagerly anticipating his return for the 2023-24 season. Whether that is over hurdles or fences remains to be seen.
Energumene finished joint-second with Constitution Hill after a dominant ten-length win in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and he will return to Cheltenham next season in search of a record-equalling third Champion Chase crown.
The leading British horse over fences was Shishkin, who sits atop the middle-distance chase division on a mark of 173 thanks to a devastating 16-length win in the Betfair Ascot Chase in February.
The Simon Munir & Isaac Souede-owned El Fabiolo had a magnificent novice chase campaign for Willie Mullins, winning all four of his races including the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy, and leads the novice ranks with a rating of 170. A potential clash with leading two-mile chaser Energumene is one to look forward to next season.
Also owned by Munir & Souede is Impaire Et Passe who finished the season as the highest-rated novice hurdler (160) after landing the Ballymore in impressive fashion at Cheltenham, defeating subsequent Grade 1 winner Gaelic Warrior (153) with relative ease.
Martin Greenwood, BHA Steeplechase Handicap Team Leader, said: “Ireland is responsible for two of the top three Chase horses in the 2022/23 Anglo-Irish Classifications. Galopin des Champs and Energumene head the staying and short distance divisions respectively after dominant displays at the Cheltenham Festival. The pair were both below that form at Punchestown the following month but that doesn’t take away from their blistering efforts at the Festival. The GB team bagged the middle-distance division with Shishkin who was upped in trip and took big-race success at Ascot and Aintree. The home contingent can also look to the likes of Bravemansgame, L’Homme Presse, and Ahoy Senor as part of a decent season in the staying ranks, while Edwardstone and Greaneteen feature high up in the two-mile arena.
“The outstanding novice of the season was the unbeaten El Fabiolo who won Grade 1 races at Cheltenham, beating the 166-rated Jonbon, and Punchestown. The Real Whacker and Gerri Colombe share top billing in the staying division at 162 after a titanic tussle in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. Kilcruit and the ill-fated Mighty Potter, both 160, share top spot in the mid-distance novice chase section.”
Andrew Mealor, BHA Hurdle Handicap Team Leader, said: “Constitution Hill topped the hurdle rankings for the second season running as he added another four Grade 1 races to his burgeoning CV. His top performance of 175 came when beating State Man by nine lengths in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, a rating which puts him behind only triple Champion Hurdle-winner Istabraq and Faugheen, both 176, among the top two milers since Classifications were first published. For good measure, his very cosy three-length win in the Aintree Hurdle was also the best performance by a middle-distance hurdler during the 2022/23 season.
“Much like last season, there wasn’t much between the top stayers with the five British and Irish open Grade 1 races over staying trips won by four different horses. Veteran Sire Du Berlais staked just about the strongest claim to top honours with wins at both Cheltenham and Aintree, earning a rating of 161. The best novice events in the spring were largely dominated by the Irish and all six novices to rank 150 or above in the classifications are trained in Ireland, notably Ballymore winner Impaire Et Passe and Supreme winner Marine Nationale.”
Andrew Shaw, Senior IHRB National Hunt Handicapper, said: “Galopin Des Champs followed up his two Grade 1 victories at Punchestown and Leopardstown with the best performance by a staying chaser this season in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. Although beaten for the first time over fences by Fastorslow at Punchestown the following month, at only seven years of age he has the potential to go on and win at least one more Gold Cup.
“Energumene consolidated his position as the leading two-mile chaser with an emphatic ten-length victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. However, his chances of becoming the first horse since Badsworth Boy to win the race on three consecutive occasions will be seriously tested by stable companion El Fabiolo, the highest rated novice chaser in training and who joins Altior as the only two-mile novice to have achieved a figure of 170 since the Classifications began. He won three Grade 1s in a faultless season and at only six-years-of-age he is a hugely exciting prospect.
“Marine Nationale crowned a fine season with an impressive win in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham achieving the highest figure posted by a novice in the two-mile category. Having by-passed the remaining spring festivals, we are none the wiser in terms of how much improvement he is likely to make but it bodes well that the form of the Supreme was further boosted by Facile Vega in the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown the following month. He will certainly one of the leading Irish contenders for next year’s Champion Hurdle.”
Shay Quinn, IHRB National Hunt Handicapper, said: “Impervious, rated 158, is the top novice chaser in the middle-distance division, factoring in the mares allowance. This gutsy mare was unbeaten for the season racking up five wins that included a Grade 3 and three Grade 2s. She has lots of class, stays well and jumps accurately. She was campaigned very well by Colm Murphy and there’s no telling how much more improvement is to come. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t win at the top level next year and looks an ideal type for the Ryanair chase.
“Impaire Et Passe finished the season as the highest rated novice hurdler. He was an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer before demolishing Gaelic Warrior in the Ballymore, who subsequently franked the form. While visually less impressive in landing the Champion Novice Hurdle back at Punchestown, he is undoubtedly an above-average novice. He jumps, travels and stays, and if remaining over hurdles won’t have any problem stepping into open company next year.”
Notes to editors:
1. View the full 2022/23 Anglo-Irish Chase Classification here.
2. View the full 2022/23 Anglo-Irish Hurdle Classification here.
3. The classifications are for all chasers and hurdlers down to a rating of 150. Originally the classification included horses rated 130 and above, which was later revised to 140 and above. 2020/21 was the first time the classification has been limited to 150 and above.
4. Both the steeplechasers and hurdlers are divided into distance categories of 2 miles to 2 miles 2.5 furlongs, 2 miles 3 furlongs to 2 miles 6.5 furlongs and 2 miles 7 furlongs plus. They are included in the list in which the handicappers believe they have put up their best performance.
5. The ratings were agreed and compiled by: Andrew Shaw and Shay Quinn (Ireland), Martin Greenwood, Andrew Mealor, Mark Olley, Chris Nash, Michael Harris, James Norris and Graeme Smith (Great Britain).