The British and Irish handicappers have confirmed Sprinter Sacre’s breathtaking quality by assessing him as the second-highest rated horse in Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification history. His BHA rating of 188 has only been bettered by Kauto Star’s unforgettable performance in the 2009 King George VI Chase which earned him a rating of 190. Sprinter Sacre’s rating of 188 was also achieved in both the 2 1/2 Mile and 2 Mile Chase categories and is the highest mark ever for a horse that has been Champion in two different divisions.
His rating in the 2 1/2 Mile Chase division sees him well clear of his closest rivals Cue Card (172) and Flemenstar (169), both of which he defeated in the John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree in April. In the 2 Mile Chase division, Sprinter Sacre’s nearest rivals were Sizing Europe (171) and Sanctuaire (166), two rivals he left trailing in his awesome wake in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He will need a world class horse to challenge him should he wish to top Kauto’s magic 190, but on all the evidence seen so far there is no reason to suggest he cannot improve well beyond this level should the right challengers come along.
Sprinter Sacre, trained by Nicky Henderson, went into the season as the highest rated Novice Chaser in the thirteen year history of the classifications with a rating of 169, and Henderson once more provided the champion of this category with Simonsig (162), the grey winning the Racing Post Arkle Trophy along the way.
In the 3 Miles + Chase division the retired Kauto Star was unable to defend his crown, which was claimed by Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth (180), who had ended last season as the highest rated Novice Chaser in the same division. Silviniaco Conti (173), who tasted Grade One success in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, and Sir Des Champs (173), twice a Grade One winner during the season, ended 2012-13 joint-second in the division. Tied for fourth was also a pair of Grade One winners in previous Anglo-Irish Classifications Champion Long Run (171), winner of the William Hill King George VI Chase, and Tidal Bay (171) who triumphed in a memorable Lexus Chase.
Hurricane Fly (175) regained his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March and also regains his crown as outright champion in the 2 Mile Hurdle division, having been joint champion with Rock On Ruby in 2011-12. A rating of 175 was not only his highest rating in the division, but is also the second- highest since Classifications began, just short of Istabraq’s consecutive ratings of 176 in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
Big Buck’s (174) missed most of the season through injury but remains Champion in the 2 1/2 Mile + Hurdle category for the fifth consecutive year following his defeat of Reve De Sivola in the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in December. This performance was on a par with previous performances and was good enough to take the crown, with the impression remaining that we are yet to see the best of this great staying hurdler. Next in the division is wonder-mare Quevega (167), winner of the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle for a fifth consecutive time. She shared second place with Zarkandar (167) winner of the Grade One John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle in April.
The Novice Hurdlers are led by Nigel Twiston-Davies’ The New One (165). The highlight of his season was an impressive victory in the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, however on the figures his best performance came in the form of a ½ length defeat to Zarkandar in the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle. This is the second highest Novices’ Hurdle rating since classifications began, behind only 2003 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle victor Iris’s Gift (167). In both cases their top ratings were received in races run against the older generation, reinforcing the view that competing against better horses allows for more potential to achieve those top marks.
Last but by no means least in a remarkable year we celebrate the highest-rated Juvenile Hurdlers in the history of the Classifications in the form of Our Conor (161) who was breathtaking in his 15 length demolition of the Triumph Hurdle field at Cheltenham. The previous holder of this title was the much-loved Katchit (159) who went on to claim the Champion Hurdle in his following season – will we see Our Conor face up to the might of Hurricane Fly at next year’s Festival?
The full list of Award winners was as follows:
|CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLER
|The New One
|CHAMPION NOVICE CHASER
|CHAMPION TWO MILE HURDLER
|CHAMPION TWO MILE CHASER
|CHAMPION TWO-AND-A-HALF MILE + HURDLER
|CHAMPION TWO-AND-A-HALF MILE CHASER
|CHAMPION THREE MILE + CHASER
|BRITISH CHAMPION CONDITIONAL
|BRITISH CHAMPION JOCKEY
|BRITISH CHAMPION TRAINER
|BRITISH CHAMPION OWNER