Silviniaco Conti has today been named as the highest rated Chaser in Britain and Ireland in 2013-2014 at the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications press conference.
The handicappers allocated him a mark of 174 for his memorable victory in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day when he wore down the Betfair Chase winner Cue Card (172) in a thrilling contest. Subsequently Silviniaco Conti disappointed in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup but bounced back to victory in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree.
In the 15 years of the classifications, Silviniaco Conti ranks at 12th equal among the 3 Mile champion Chasers alongside Looks Like Trouble and See More Business. Kauto Star remains the best 3 Mile Chaser since the rankings began, on 190 in 2009-2010. In the 2 1/2 Mile Chase category the two wide-margin victories by Captain Chris (169) at Kempton and Ascot in January and February were adjudged to be the best performances.
However the most consistent performer at the top level was the 2 Mile champion Chaser, Sire De Grugy (172). He ran no fewer than seven times winning on six occasions, four of which were at Grade 1 level. He also won a handicap by 11 lengths off a mark of 161. Everybody is looking forward to 2014/2015 now to see how he measures up to a recovering Sprinter Sacre, the 2012/13 top-rated Chaser and second-highest rated horse in Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification.
It was tight at the top of the 2 Mile Hurdle category with only 3lbs. separating the top four horses. However there was little doubt after victories at Cheltenham and Punchestown that Jezki (169) should be rated as the champion. My Tent Or Yours (168) and The New One (167) will have their supporters to turn the tables on Jezki next season although all three will have to be at their absolute best to deal with the up and coming Novices.
The Staying Hurdle category champion is the unbeaten More Of That (169) who has been rated the equal of Jezki. He still has a way to go to challenge the highest rated staying hurdler of the last 15 years, Big Buck’s (174) but More of That did improve 39lbs. last season so we may well not have seen the best of him yet.
All three of the Novices’ Chase champions rate highly when compared to the winners over the last 15 years. Holywell (163) has rock solid form both at Cheltenham and Aintree and only Gloria Victis (166) in 1999-2000 has rated higher in the 3 Mile category. From the same yard of Jonjo O’Neill, Taquin du Seuil (159), owned by former BHA chairman Sir Martin Broughton, is top of the 2 1/2 Mile Novices’ Chase category. At 2 Miles, Balder Succes (162) has the same rating as Simonsig the previous year and competition at this distance looks certain to be tough next winter.
Faugheen (161) and Vautour (158) look sure to be challenging the current stars at 2 Miles over hurdles in 2014-2015 and if the former goes the staying route, Beat That (156) looks sure to be a formidable opponent.
In summary 2013-2014 was a fascinating season with some excellent performances. Next season promises to be as good if not better when the unexposed Novices compete with the existing stars.
VIEW FULL CLASSIFICATIONS HERE. The full list of Award winners was as follows:
|CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLER||Faugheen||161|
|CHAMPION NOVICE CHASER||Holywell||163|
|CHAMPION 2 MILE HURDLER||Jezki||169|
|CHAMPION 2 MILE CHASER||Sire De Grugy||172|
|CHAMPION 2 1/2 MILE + HURDLER||More Of That||169|
|CHAMPION 2 1/2 MILE CHASER||Captain Chris||169|
|CHAMPION 3 MILE CHASER||Silviniaco Conti||174|
|BRITISH CHAMPION CONDITIONAL||Gavin Sheehan|
|BRITISH CHAMPION JOCKEY||AP McCoy|
|BRITISH CHAMPION TRAINER||Paul Nicholls|
|BRITISH CHAMPION OWNER||JP McManus|