Too Darn Hot by far as European two-year-old Classifications are published

23 Jan 2019 BHA Features Racing/Fixtures

Too Darn Hot was today announced the European Champion Two-Year-Old of 2018 with a rating of 126 as the 2018 European Two-Year-Old Classifications are published.

The son of Dubawi proved himself the best two-year-old in Europe since Frankel shared top honours with Dream Ahead on the same rating in 2010. There has been no juvenile rated higher since Xaar in 1997.

2018 was a strong year at the top of the two-year-old tree with no fewer than six horses rated at 118 or above. Those ratings came from strung-out finishes to the best three races; the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes and the Juddmonte Middle Park.

It was a stellar year for Dubawi. The Darley stallion is responsible for the best two juveniles of 2018 in Too Darn Hot and Quorto, and the pair went into winter quarters as the unbeaten winners of seven races between them.

The BHA’s Lead two-year-old Handicapper Graeme Smith said:

“Too Darn Hot confirmed himself an outstanding juvenile in the Dewhurst where he put some strong form lines firmly in the shade. The last three two-year-olds rated at his level went on to win 15 Group 1s between them, and in what promises to be an above-average classic crop he already sets a lofty standard with the potential of better still.”

John Gosden has enjoyed huge success with three-year-olds and upwards in recent years but Too Darn Hot is just his second champion juvenile, following on from Oasis Dream in 2002. This year Gosden has two juveniles in the top 10, with his Coventry-winner Calyx achieving a rating as high as 115 despite having his season limited to just two races within 11 days in June.

European Champion, Two Year Old, British Racing, Horseracing, flat racing, Handicapping

Pretty Pollyanna

The leading juvenile filly of 2018 was also housed in Newmarket in the shape of Pretty Pollyanna. Michael Bell’s daughter of Oasis Dream came to prominence with a dominant performance in the town’s Duchess of Cambridge Stakes in July, and later backed that up with a harder-fought success in the Group 1 Prix Morny in Deauville. She failed to carry her form through to two autumn Group 1 targets but, nevertheless, her 116 performance remains the benchmark in the fillies division.

Mark Bird, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Handicapper and delegate at the European two-year-old meeting, said:

“Quorto put up the best performance by a juvenile in Ireland in 2018, following in the footsteps of his sire Dubawi in winning both the Bet365 Superlative Stakes and the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at two, and he rates just 1lb below his sire as a two-year-old on 121.

Ten Sovereigns

“The leading Irish-trained juvenile was Aidan O’Brien’s Ten Sovereigns, who completed an unbeaten season with a defeat of Jash in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes and who ends the year on a rating of 120, which is 1lb ahead of the figure achieved by his sire No Nay Never at two.”

Overall, 44 juveniles achieved a rating of 110 or above in 2018 which is slightly down historically, with the average since 2010 sitting at 47. There was an even split between British and Irish-trained horses at 20 each. That continues the trend of increasing depth in Ireland and this year’s total is bettered only by 21 Irish juveniles in 2011.

Three French-trained colts in the classification are headed by the exciting Persian King. Andre Fabre’s giant Kingman colt impressed on the sectionals when beating the subsequent Vertem Trophy winner Magna Grecia in the Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes. He could well take higher order in the three-year-old classification of 2019.

One of the most keenly anticipated parts of the annual press conference is when the handicappers give dark horses to follow for the upcoming season. These have included the Group 1 winners Without Parole, Cracksman, Barney Roy, and Harry Angel in the last 2 years and this year’s nominated horses are:

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith

“The top two-year-olds already set a good standard, particularly at 1m, but as far as the longer distances go I can definitely see Dubai Warrior and Sucellus making an impression in the Derby trials for John Gosden, and they’ll hopefully go on to better still.

“William Haggas introduced a potentially smart sort in Skardu at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire fixture and he’s very much the type who’ll win pattern races. It could be that he sticks around 1m and the Greenham may be his starting point.

“In the fillies division Dancing Vega made a huge impression at Doncaster and she’s definitely one to follow.”

Mark Bird

“Of those yet to compete at Pattern level but who have hinted at promise in Ireland, I would highlight two Ballydoyle-trained fillies. The first is Chablis, who made a good impression when winning on debut in a 7f Gowran Park maiden in October – she is out of a Prix Saint Alary winner, and is a full sister to The Pentagon.

“The second is Quote, out of a sister to a German Derby winner, who got the hang of things late in the day on her sole start in a Leopardstown maiden in October, and is another who could progress up through the ranks in 2019.

“Among the colts, Dermot Weld’s Gowran Park maiden winner Tankerville, who is a half brother to 10f Listed winner Flavius, by Kitten’s Joy, impressed in winning on his debut over a mile and should progress well at three”.

Notes to Editors

  1. The full European two-year-old Classification 2018 can be found here: European two-year-old Classification 2018

The European Handicappers meet annually at the direction of the European Pattern Committee to discuss and agree the European two-year-old rankings. Two-year-olds are included in the Classification if they put up a performance in Europe rated at 110 or more or if they perform to this level outside of the Continent whilst trained in Europe. The Classification does not form part of the LONGINES WORLD’S BEST RACEHORSE RANKINGS and is published for informational purposes. The two-year-old Classification was first published in 1978.


View the full conference below