Don Cossack has again been announced the highest rated Jumps horse of the 2015/16 season at the Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications press conference, hosted by the British Horseracing Authority and the Irish Turf Club.
The Gordon Elliott-trained chaser was given a rating of 177 after his impressive performance in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is the second year Don Cossack has been top of the three mile plus chaser pile.
The rating of 177 puts him level with the likes of Best Mate, Kicking King and not far from 2012/13 winner Bobs Worth who was rated 180 in the list of the greatest chasers.
As well as the impressive performances from Don Cossack, the 2015/16 jumps season will also be remembered for the comeback king Sprinter Sacre. Trained by Nicky Henderson, Sprinter Sacre, played a starring role at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, returning to the winners enclosure after the Queen Mother Champion Chase to an almighty roar.
Another of this seasons eye-catchers was Willie Mullins-trained Vautour took the two and a half mile chaser title. Improving last year’s mark of 171 to an impressive 173 which leaves him just behind 2010/12 hero Master Minded.
There were yet more impressive performances in the Hurdling category with Thistlecrack well and truly earning his mark of 174 in the two and a half mile plus hurdler division after his visually stunning performance in the World Hurdle. The eight-year-old gelding trained by Colin Tizzard earned a rating equal to that of Big Buck’s and 5 pounds above the two previous category winners.
Phil Smith, Head of Handicapping for the BHA, said: “The 2015–2016 season saw performances from two outstanding hurdlers. Faugheen (176) became the highest rated hurdler since Istabraq in 2001, while Thistlecrack (174) equalled the level of the great Big Buck’s.
“Annie Power (166) became the first mare since Dawn Run in 1984 to win the Champion Hurdle. Don Cossack (177) who was top three mile+ chaser in 2014–15 retained his title but with a 2lbs. higher rating.
“Vautour (176) is the only horse to figure twice in the rankings by virtue of being champion on 173 in the two and a half mile chase category as well as getting his better rating at further distances. Astonishingly Sprinter Sacre (175) regained his title as top two mile chaser, three seasons after being top in 2012–13.”
Noel O’Brien, Senior Turf Club National Hunt Handicapper, said: “The outstanding hurdling performance of the season was the mightily impressive Faugheen at Leopardstown in blitzing the previous year’s champion hurdle runner up, Arctic Fire and this year’s third Nichols Canyon and his rating of 176 equals the highest ever achieved that by Istabraq. Sadly we didn’t see him after this run but hopefully his injury will not curtail this sensational hurdler.”
The list of category Champions is as follows:
|3-mile-plus Chaser||Don Cossack (GER)*||177|
|2 ½-mile Chaser||Vautour (FR)*||173|
|2-mile Chaser||Sprinter Sacre (FR)||175|
|3-mile-plus Novice Chaser||No More Heroes (IRE)*||159|
|Rule The World (GB)*||159|
|2 ½-mile Novice Chaser||Arzal (FR)||159|
|Black Hercules (IRE)*||159|
|2-mile Novice Chaser||Douvan (FR)*||169|
|2 ½-mile-plus Hurdler||Thistlecrack (GB)||174|
|2-mile Hurdler||Faugheen (IRE)*||176|
|2 ½-mile-plus Novice Hurdler||Yorkhill (IRE)*||155|
|2-mile Novice Hurdler||Altior (IRE)||160|