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Timeform's Greatest Racehorses

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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.

 

 

  
Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Flat 3yo+)
147 Frankel
145 Sea-Bird
144 Brigadier Gerard, Tudor Minstrel
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

 

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

 

  
Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps - Chasers)
212 Arkle
210 Flyingbolt
192p 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
   

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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GALWAY 18:15

Wednesday 28 July
19. MODUS 175
D. J. O'Keeffe silk D. J. O'Keeffe
Enda Bolger, Ireland
11. OFF YOU GO (IRE) 174
J. S. McGarvey silk J. S. McGarvey
Cathal Byrnes, Ireland
NT
hot trainer
22. SOMPTUEUX (FR) 173
Aidan Coleman silk Aidan Coleman
Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
Go to full race

LATEST HORSE RACING RESULTS

20:55 PERTH

1st Mr James King silk 5. ISLAND NATION (IRE) 9/43.25jf
2nd Mr Connor Wood silk 6. WISE COCO 9/43.25jf
3rd Miss Abbie McCain silk 1. TIMETOROE (IRE) 6/17
T: Olly Murphy  
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:35 WORCESTER

1st Jamie Moore silk 7. PILLAR OF STEEL 11/102.1f
2nd Robert Dunne silk ¾ 6. DORKING ROGUE 3/14
3rd Paddy Brennan silk 1 3. RIGHT DESTINATION (IRE) 10/111
J: Jamie Moore  
All 8 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:25 PERTH

1st Harry Bannister silk 2. PARDON ME 11/43.75jf
2nd Adam Wedge silk 3. PRINTING DOLLARS (IRE) 11/43.75jf
All 7 ran.
FULL RESULT

20:15 GALWAY

1st Declan McDonogh silk 22. NO THANKS 4/15
2nd Sam Ewing silk ½ 7. CROWNS MAJOR (JPN) 5/16
3rd William James Lee silk nk 6. LANDA BEACH (IRE) 20/121
4th M. P. Sheehy silk 2. ISOTOPE (IRE) 22/123
19 ran. NRs: 11  15  19  23 
FULL RESULT

20:05 WORCESTER

1st Harry Cobden silk 10. HEARTBREAKER 4/15
2nd Paddy Brennan silk 6. MULBERRY HILL (IRE) 11/43.75
3rd Mr Ben Bromley silk 2. GINGER DU VAL (FR) 5/23.5f
J: Harry Cobden  
T: Michael Bell  
10 ran. NRs: 5 
FULL RESULT

19:55 PERTH

1st Aidan Coleman silk 4. PUTTING GREEN 3/14
2nd Harry Reed silk ns 2. PAMMI 10/34.33
All 7 ran.
FULL RESULT

19:45 GALWAY

1st Izzy Clifton silk 19. PLUM PERFECT (IRE) 12/113
2nd A. J. Slattery silk 4. KHAFAAQ 10/111
3rd Sam Ewing silk nk 1. DANCE EMPEROR (IRE) 9/25.5
4th Wesley Joyce silk nk 13. TAKE MY HAND (IRE) 8/19
J: Izzy Clifton (7)  
17 ran. NRs: 11  12  20  6 
FULL RESULT

19:35 WORCESTER

1st Nick Scholfield silk 5. JUST ONCE 1/12f
2nd Sam Twiston-Davies silk 11 3. THE WICKET CHICKEN (IRE) 9/43.25
3 ran. NRs: 1  2 
FULL RESULT

19:25 PERTH

1st Henry Brooke silk 2. GET OUT THE GATE (IRE) 2/13f
2nd Daryl Jacob silk 14 7. SHANROE AL C (IRE) 7/18
J: Henry Brooke  
5 ran. NRs: 3  5  6 
FULL RESULT
Go to Horse Racing Results