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Timeform's Greatest Racehorses


Timeform ratings on the Flat stretch right back to the first Racehorses annual, which came out in 1948, and over jumps to the time of the first jumps Black Books in the early-60s. More recently they have included all the best horses in the world, not just those that have raced in Britain. You can now read in-depth profiles on Timeform's greatest racehorses.

Timeform ratings express in terms of pounds the level of form a horse has shown. On the Flat they range from below 30 for bad performers to over 130 for the real top-notchers. Over jumps the range is from below 60 to over 165. Horses without recent rateable form appear as a dash.

Great care is taken to keep the level of Timeform ratings consistent from one season to the next (after due allowance has been made for various factors that might alter the overall picture), so that comparisons between different generations can be made.

A horse that achieves a rating of 140 or higher on the Flat can be considered among the greats of the Timeform era. Similarly, only a very few horses are awarded a rating of 175 or more over hurdles or 182 or more over fences.


Timeform's Greatest Racehorses - Flat 

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Flat 3yo+)
147 Frankel
145 Sea-Bird
144 Brigadier Gerard, Tudor Minstrel
143 Flightline
142 Abernant, Ribot
141 Mill Reef
140 Dancing Brave, Dubai Millennium, Harbinger, Sea The Stars, Shergar, Vaguely Noble
139 Arrogate, Generous, Pappa Fourway, Reference Point


Timeform's Greatest Racehorses - Hurdlers

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps - Hurdlers)
182 Night Nurse
180 Istabraq, Monksfield
179 Persian War
178 Comedy of Errors
177 Lanzarote, Limestone Lad, Constitution Hill (profile to follow at end of career)
176 Bird's Nest, Bula, Faugheen, Golden Cygnet
175 Baracouda, Gaye Brief, Salmon Spray, Sea Pigeon


Timeform's Greatest Racehorses - Chasers

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps - Chasers)
212 Arkle
210 Flyingbolt
192 Sprinter Sacre
191 Kauto Star, Mill House
187 Desert Orchid
186 Dunkirk
184 Burrough Hill Lad, Moscow Flyer, Long Run
183 Don Cossack, Master Oats
182 Azertyuiop, Best Mate, Captain Christy, Douvan, Carvill's Hill, Kicking KingSee More BusinessWell Chief


Timeform's Greatest Racehorses - Jumping Mares

  Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps - Mares)
173 Dawn Run
171 Anaglogs Daughter
170+ Annie Power
166 Dubacilla, Flakey Dove 
165 Lady Cricket, Lady Rebecca, Honeysuckle
164 Quevega
162 Apple's Jade, Asian Maze

From time to time the question of how the merit of horses should be assessed arises, perhaps in the context of horses that show great consistency at the highest level without achieving a very high rating or when a horse with a single outstanding performance is rated among the best of its generation.

Hawk Wing's spectacularly one-sided victory in the 2003 Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, which he won by eleven lengths from Where Or When, was one occasion where Timeform's annual rating (136) met with criticism. Here's how we covered the topic in his essay in that year's Racehorses annual.

"Hawk Wing's performance in the Lockinge created plenty of debate, not least because it raised fundamental issues about how the merit of horses should be assessed. Many appear to think that handicapping is simply a matter of finding a horse which has run to form--a 'yardstick'--and basing the entire assessment of a race on this assumption...

It is just possible, of course, that Hawk Wing himself was the only horse to give his true running at Newbury and that he did not improve upon his previous efforts. Possible, but unlikely, taking everything, including his timefigure, into account. It could, on the other hand, be argued that our assessment of Hawk Wing is conservative, though his rating reflects a single performance and does not define him as the 'champion' of 2003. Other horses over the year, notably Falbrav, achieved a greater number of top-class performances.

According to some, not enough 'common sense' is used in deciding end-of-season ratings or rankings. One performance proves nothing, they say, and a horse like Hawk Wing should not be rated ahead of a horse so splendidly consistent as Falbrav. The ratings of a good number of the best horses in an annual like Racehorses are, after all, largely of academic rather than practical value. But handicapping in general could never be conducted this way.

Taking account of such attributes as toughness, consistency and versatility when rating horses would be penalising the very attributes that the critics themselves rightly hold so dear. The  connections of horses campaigned honestly and enterprisingly would be horrified if they thought these factors were being taken into account in the handicap marks allotted to their horses. Likewise there would be an outcry if a handicapper took the view that 'one performance proved nothing' and allowed a wide-margin winner to go unpenalised while it was given another chance to repeat that form."

Simon Rowlands also took a look at different ways of answering the question, Who Is The World's Best Racehorse? You can also find a discussion of the process we follow in arriving at ratings in "How Timeform Handicaps Horses."



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Free Daily Race Pass (Result)


Thursday 18 April
5. HAATEM (IRE) 1st
Sean Levey silk Sean Levey
Richard Hannon
Kieran Shoemark silk Kieran Shoemark
John & Thady Gosden
Go to full race



1st Silvestre De Sousa silk 5. JIMMY SPEAKING 7/24.5
2nd Rhys Clutterbuck silk 6. MART 9/43.25f
T: Chris Dwyer  
5 ran. NRs: 3 


1st Marco Ghiani silk 1. SOUTHBANK (IRE) 4/91.44f
2nd Silvestre De Sousa silk nk 5. COGSWORTH 13/27.5
3rd Kevin Stott silk hd 9. BIG BLUE BOY (IRE) 12/113
J: Marco Ghiani  
8 ran. NRs: 2  4  8 


1st Marco Ghiani silk 3. AGOSTINO 10/34.33f
2nd Silvestre De Sousa silk 4. SIR RODNEYREDBLOOD 7/24.5
3rd Sean Dylan Bowen silk ½ 5. MOKAATIL 10/111
J: Marco Ghiani  
All 10 ran.


1st Mr H. C. Swan silk 2. BLEU DE VASSY (FR) 4/15
2nd Mr A. Harvey silk 7 3. CHAMPAGNE KID (IRE) 80/181
3rd Mr A. Jones silk ¾ 5. HIS NIBS (IRE) 9/43.25
J: Mr H. C. Swan (5)  
All 8 ran.


1st Jack Mitchell silk 2. FOX FLAME 11/26.5
2nd Rossa Ryan silk 3. GREEK GIANT (IRE) 4/51.8f
3rd Dylan Hogan silk nk 8. SMOKEY MALONE 12/113
8 ran. NRs: 5 


1st G. B. Noonan silk 5. EDDIES PRIDE (IRE) 9/25.5
2nd J. J. Slevin silk 4 6. SEANGOELL (IRE) 10/34.33
J: G. B. Noonan (5)  
6 ran. NRs: 1 


1st Rob Hornby silk 4. ROBBO (IRE) 11/102.1f
2nd George Downing silk 1. MYSTERY MONARCH 13/27.5
J: Rob Hornby  
All 7 ran.


1st P. Townend silk 2. HORANTZAU D'AIRY (FR) 4/51.8f
2nd D. King silk 3. GAELIC ARC (IRE) 28/129
J: P. Townend  
All 5 ran.


1st Joe Fanning silk 2. DOUBLETALK (IRE) 14/115
2nd Sean Dylan Bowen silk 3. CON TE PARTIRO 1/21.5f
J: Joe Fanning  
All 5 ran.
Go to Horse Racing Results