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Hong Kong features highly among World’s Best and Top 100 rankings

Beauty Generation ranked as the world’s best miler in the 2019 World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (WBRR), released by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) on Wednesday while 10 of Hong Kong’s elite races featured in the World’s Top 100 G1 Races for the year just ended.

Hong Kong was home to the world’s two highest-ranked 1200m races in 2019, the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint and Chairman’s Sprint Prize, and the best 1400m contest based on the official ratings, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.

The John Moore-trained Beauty Generation’s top rating of 127 was achieved with an awesome weight-carrying feat in October’s G3 Celebration Cup Handicap (1400m) – completing a 10-race win streak – and matched his 2018 figure. That rating is an all-time Hong Kong high, with only the great Able Friend having achieved the mark previously.

Beauty Generation is one of 20 Hong Kong horses to make the illustrious WBRR and ranked as the fourth best horse in the list, behind the co-top rated trio of Enable, Waldgeist and Crystal Ocean, making him the top-rated horse trained outside of Europe.

Beauty Generation and Zac Purton, picture Liesl King

The John Size-trained Beat The Clock – winner of the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup for a second time last Sunday – emerged as a world’s top 10 sprinter; his rating of 121, earned when winning December’s G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint, placed him co-29th in the overall rankings. Only five Hong Kong sprinters have ever rated higher than 121.

Hong Kong’s champion stayer Exultant and the talented sprinters Aethero and Hot King Prawn all rated 120 to rank equal-35th, making five Sha Tin-based horses rated 120 or higher.

Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Hong Kong has achieved 20 or more horses in the year-end rankings every year since 2013 and it is pleasing to reach that figure again in 2019, particularly when one considers the fact we have a total horse population at Sha Tin and Conghua of about 1300.

“It is noteworthy that five of our horses in the Rankings rated 120 or above, which accounts for approximately nine percent of the world’s horses in that elite bracket, with our two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation in fourth place being the world’s standout miler – deservedly so when one looks at his dominating performances in winning three Group 1 races during the year as part of his 10-race unbeaten streak. 

“As a point of context, Ireland had only four horses rated 120 or higher, and France just two; this achievement highlights the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s successful strategies, including a commitment to rewarding owners with strong prize money levels, which in turn gives them the confidence to go out and buy high quality horses to strengthen the talent pool. This approach is a key enabling factor for Hong Kong to hold its position as a world leader within the sport.”

World’s Top 100

The FWD Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) features in the top 10 of the World’s Top 100 G1 Races, one of 10 of Hong Kong’s 12 eligible contests to make the prestigious roll. Seven Hong Kong races are in the list’s top 40. 

Japan’s Win Bright won the April 2019 FWD QEII Cup, defeating Hong Kong star Exultant (2nd), Japan’s brilliant Horse of the Year Lys Gracieux (3rd), and Glorious Forever (4th), to produce a race rating of 121.50. The FWD QEII Cup ranked equal-10th alongside the LONGINES Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (=19th) is the world’s highest-ranked 1400m race, while Sha Tin also held the world’s two highest-rated 1200m sprint races, the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (=22nd) and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (27th), held at the world renowned LONGINES Hong Kong International Races and FWD Champions Day fixtures, respectively.

Each G1 is ranked based on the average rating of the first four finishers from that year’s race. A panel of international handicappers determines the ratings. 

The 2019 edition of the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (=13th) achieved a rating of 120.75, making it the world’s third best mile and a half race, behind only the top two on the overall list, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with a race rating of 126.25, and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, rated 125.75.

The LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (=24th) and Stewards’ Cup (=32nd) also made the top 40. The LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (=55th), Centenary Sprint Cup (=79th) and Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (=79th) also featured in the Top 100.

Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “With 10 of our races in the World’s Top 100 G1 Races, Hong Kong has again shown that it holds a strong position at horseracing’s pinnacle. The FWD QEII Cup was a fantastic spectacle, with three world class horses fighting out the finish – Win Bright, Exultant and Lys Gracieux; and it was another fine achievement for Hong Kong to have staged the world’s best races at 1200m and 1400m, the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup, respectively.

“To have five races in the top 25 is an impressive achievement. The fact that our races rank so highly in the list shows that our Group 1 contests, including those at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races and FWD Champions Day, continue to stand out as high profile events in the sport’s global arena.”

                  
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