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Racing’s 20 to 1: Top 20 Australasian Horses in 2011

December 27, 2011

As announced earlier today, I will be releasing a series of lists over the next few days featuring the highlights of 2011, as well as looking forward to 2012.

Today’s list is the top 20 horses to race in Australasia in 2011.

The list demonstrates the strength amongst our sprinters and the shallow depth amongst our stayers.

I will be adding photos, courtesy of, tomorrow.

Here are the horses who make my top 20, from 20 through to 1.

20. Secret Admirer

The Epsom winner deserves her spot here for her dominant win in the feature mile, as well as her competitive efforts in other races like the Cox Plate and the Emirates Stakes. Unfortunately,  we didn’t see her in the autumn, otherwise she would probably rank higher in this list.

19. Ilovethiscity

Randwick Guineas winner Ilovethiscity also won the Hobartville Stakes, ran second in the Warwick Stakes and the George Main Stakes and was competitive in races like the Doncaster Mile. While I don’t think the three year old form is particularly strong, outside of a couple of exceptions, I think his efforts warrant his inclusion here.

18. Glass Harmonium

Mike Moroney’s import was one of the revelations of the winter. He was heavily backed in the Doomben Cup before his first run here, and his efforts in the winter – second in the Hollindale, third in the Doomben Cup, victory in the O’Shea Stakes and second in the Brisbane Cup – justified that support. In the spring, his form was good enough – he lost all chance at the start of both the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup, which was punctuated by a dominant Mackinnon Stakes victory.

17. Beaded

Bonny mare who is so game and consistent. Finally got her much deserved G1 victory in the Doomben 10000, after recording placings in the Newmarket Handicap and the Robert Sangster Stakes. She also ran second in the Stradbroke Handicap and the Winter Stakes.

16. Pinker Pinker

Surprise Cox Plate winner who, it is fair to say, makes this list purely because of that victory. Also ran second in the Epsom Handicap, while she placed in the AJC Oaks earlier in the year. She was a winner of the Let’s Elope Stakes earlier in the spring. Still, a shock victor.

15. Sincero

This time last year, Sincero was a boom horse. After his victory in the Inglis Guineas, Stradbroke Handicap and George Main Stakes, he can be ranked among Australia’s top horses. Was a little inconsistent, especially towards the end of the year, but still his performances deserve great respect.

14. Smart Missile

Only raced once as a two year old in 2011, but what a victory! In the Todman Stakes, he defeated Sepoy and Foxwedge, two high class colts. Unfortunately, he was a late scratching at the gates in the Golden Slipper. He returned in a stylish manner in the Run to the Rose, while he was just nabbed by Manawanui in the Golden Rose. His form tapered off after that but it will be exciting to see him trained as a sprinter in 2012.

13. Mosheen

Did what was once considered unthinkable – ran second at massive odds in the Golden Slipper at only her second start. Continued her form as a 3yo, which included a dominant win in the Edward Manifold Stakes and a second in the Thousand Guineas. But the crowning glory was an incredible nine length victory in the Crown Oaks, a margin not seen before. Has to rate behind Atlantic Jewel but she’s a great filly in her own right.

12. Shamrocker

Extremely disappointing in the spring after a stellar autumn which saw her win the Australian Guineas and the Australian Derby against the boys. She also placed behind Jimmy Choux in the Rosehill Guineas. The strength of those wins alone sees her deserve a spot here.

11. Dunaden

This list only takes in Australasian races, otherwise I’d probably have Dunaden higher. He was very good under topweight in the Geelong Cup before prevailing in the tightest ever photo finish in the Melbourne Cup over Red Cadeaux. Those two wins have him ranked here, but his game win in the Hong Kong Vase was also notable and would hasve him higher. Likely to see him back next year.

10. My Kingdom of Fife

Import who created a stir at every run in Australia. Formerly owned by the Queen, he won his first race in Australia – the Doncaster Prelude – at 150/1. He backed that up with nice victories in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Hollindale Stakes before running second in the Doomben Cup. He was good in the Chelmsford Stakes, while he was simply better than his opposition in the Craven Plate. Unfortunately, he broke down after that run – otherwise I fully believe he would have gone extremely close in the Cox Plate. The spring of 2012 awaits.

9. More Joyous

Star mare who raced below her best in the spring after an all conquering autumn. Won two Group 1s (Queen of the Turf, Futurity Stakes) and two Group 2s (Breeders Classic, Canterbury Stakes) in the autumn before failing as favourite on a heavy track in the Doncaster. Returned with a third in the Manikato before narrowly getting home in the Tristarc Stakes. Was disappointing in the Myer Classic but never raced at her best in the spring. Will be interesting to see her next year.

8. Manawanui

The dream galloper. Purchased cheaply, he progressed through the grades as a two year old. While he showed promise, it wasn’t until his three year old preparation that the tree bore fruit. Won the Up and Coming Stakes by a huge margin before just getting home in the Golden Rose. Started the shortest priced favourite at Rosehill in many a year and won accordingly in the Stan Fox Stakes. He was just nosed out by Helmet in a classic Caulfield Guineas, had too much class in the AAMI Vase but didn’t stay the distance in the Victoria Derby. Would be surprised if he didn’t go on with it in 2012.

7. Atlantic Jewel

Brilliant and very exciting filly. Produced nothing special when she won on debut, but came to Moonee Valley and won with so much contempt she was promoted to favourite for the Thousand Guineas – which she won arrogantly. Produced a seven length victory in the Wakeful Stakes but pulled up scratchy and it is unknown when she’ll be seen in 2012. Still, has to be ranked highly in this list.

6. Americain

New Australian resident who will bring a bit of class to the Australian staying pool. Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner won the Moonee Valley Cup at his return, while he was game under topweight when fourth in this year’s Melbourne Cup – arguably, he should have won the race. Showed his class in the Zipping Classic with a good victory. In ratings terms, he produced the best Melbourne Cup run and his other two wins see him in the top 10.

5. Helmet

Three time Group 1 winner. Wasn’t expected to figure as prominently as he did in the two year old races, but emerged as a superstar juvenile with wins in the AJC Sires Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes. This was despite his antics which saw him duck off the track unexpectedly on numerous occasions. Took a while to find form as a three year old, with the horse running third in the Run to the Rose and the Golden Rose. But won the Guineas Prelude strongly and then held off Manawanui in the Caulfield Guineas. Started favourite in the Cox Plate but struggled at the distance and ran midfield. Doesn’t dim his extraordinary achievements this year.

4. Jimmy Choux

Hard not to include ‘Jimmy’ this far up. He’s been a model of consistency this year, with his only two failures coming in the Australian Derby and the Hong Kong Mile. His performances include victories in the New Zealand Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Windsor Park Plate and Spring Classic, while he placed in the Cox Plate and Mudgway Stakes. He was also fourth in the Emirates Stakes. Has the potential to be a top middle class galloper – if he stays in training beyond this season.

3. Hay List

Better known for being the bridesmaid to Black Caviar, but he is an outstanding horse in his own right. He only won twice this year – and one of them was the narrowest of victories over Keen Commander. But his other victory, in the All Aged Stakes, was extraordinary. His runner up performances were also quite remarkable, especially his second in the T J Smith Stakes. As good a sprinter as we’ve seen in many a while, he just has the misfortune of racing at a time when his main competition may possibly be the best sprinter we’ve seen.

2. Sepoy

Probably the best juvenile in many a year, with Dance Hero the only two year old who can rank alongside him. Victories in the Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper wer simply arrogant. His only defeat this year came in the Todman Stakes, when he floundered in the going. It still took a good horse in Smart Missile to beat him, though. He is also unbeaten as a three year old, beating the older horses in the Caulfield Sprint and recording a third Group 1 victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes. We’ll only see him once more before he goes to Dubai, but he is one of our classiest horses.

1. Black Caviar

Enough said. She deserves the top spot purely for the interest she’s brought to racing among the public. Her victories are famous – won the Lightning Stakes, won the Newmarket Handicap, won the William Reid Stakes, won the T J Smith Stakes, won the BTC Cup, won the Schillaci Stakes, won the Moir Stakes, won the Patinack Farm Classic. She may be the best sprinter we’ve ever seen. It is unfathomable for any other horse to go on top.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2011 11:16 pm

    Good list, reckon I’d have found space for game little Karuta Queen 🙂

    • December 28, 2011 9:30 am

      Thanks Calindy!!! Yes, Karuta Queen probably could have found a spot in there…the other one I think I’m missing is Black and Bent, wish I’d included him in there. But this is the great thing about lists – everyone has their own opinion!

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