John Gosden’s Cracksman and Australian wonder mare Winx have been named jointly as the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorses.

Cracksman appeared to have lost some of his stardust in the first half of last season, only scraping home in the Coronation Cup at Epsom before suffering a shock defeat in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, he bounced back to his brilliant best when successfully defending his crown in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in October and the now-retired five-year-old ended 2018 as the top-rated horse in the Northern Hemisphere on a mark of 130.

Speaking after being presented with the award at a ceremony at The Landmark Hotel in London, Cracksman’s owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer said: “He has provided us with tremendous excitement.

"He certainly rewarded us (for keeping him in training as a four-year-old) and proved how good he was in the second Champion Stakes at Ascot. We knew he was a brilliant horse and we’re thrilled to have him.

“I would like to mention my staff, my blacksmith and the vets that come to us at our small stud. Without them we would not have the horse.”


Frankie Dettori partnered the son of Frankel in all but one of his eight career victories.

He said: “I’m blessed to be riding such great horses. Cracksman was a beautiful individual and very kind, and in my 31-year career he is the horse with probably the biggest stride.

“It was amazing when you rode him and we achieved so much. His performance in both Champion Stakes was tremendous and he truly deserves to be the joint top-rated horse in the world. It’s been a fantastic journey and hopefully I’m going to stay around and ride some of his progeny.”


The only horse able to match Cracksman’s figure of 130 was the Chris Waller-trained Winx, who was last seen claiming a historic fourth victory in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October – her 29th successive win and her 33rd from 39 career starts overall.

Waller and Winx’s band of owners made the journey across the globe to attend the awards ceremony.

Waller said: “She’s made us all look pretty special and that’s the best way of describing her. She’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse and I’ve got a great team behind me that are in awe of her every day. For whatever reason she just keeps running consistently well – year in year out – at this high level.

“We might be down in the other part of the world, but we certainly have full respect of all the horses up here and to be recognised on this huge stage really is special. It’s an amazing thing, to be associated with horses like this.”

Part-owner Debbie Kepitis said: “It’s very touching because we love her and are thrilled at what she does, but to have so many of the public take her into their hearts is so special. People will her to win – I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.”

Asked when Winx’s glittering career could finally come to an end, another part-owner, Peter Tighe, said: “We don’t have a definite date. We’re going to let her tell us – it’s all up to Winx. We’ll have a comeback on February 16 in Sydney and if everything goes to plan we may have another race and just take it one race at a time.

“We’re ecstatic to win this award and can I also congratulate the Cracksman team. It’s an honour to share this award with you. We love our horse as much as I’m sure you love yours.”


American ace Accelerate was named the third highest-rated horse in the world with a rating of 128. A stunning 2018 campaign for John Sadler’s charge included a jaw-dropping win in the Pacific Classic and victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The six-year-old is a hot favourite to round off his racing career with another huge win in Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

Stephanie Hronis, Accelerate’s co-owner, said: “To have a champion horse like Accelerate has been exceptional – it has exceeded our dreams of when we first started in 2010. It was amazing to watch each of his races and the wins are still being absorbed. To be recognised on the international racehorse front, we are very grateful.”


Gosden was also responsible for Roaring Lion, who ended the year as the joint-fourth highest-rated horse in the world on 127 after racking up four successive Group 1 wins with triumphs in the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

For a third time in four years, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was named the Longines World’s Best Horse Race for 2018.

Gosden’s brilliant mare Enable successfully defended her Arc crown in the first renewal run at ParisLongchamp, narrowly beating the William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class.


Subsequent St James’s Palace Stakes hero Without Parole proved a shrewd pick as one of Graeme Smith’s dark horses to follow in 2018. The British Horseracing Authority’s lead two-year-old handicapper and his Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board counterpart Mark Bird have selected six horses they expect to go on to big things in 2019.

CHABLIS (Aidan O’Brien)

“She won a seven-furlong maiden at Gowran Park in October. There was nothing remarkable about the form. She had a nice trip and had a good draw. She picked up nicely and won in uncomplicated style. I think she has the potential to go on over middle distances and I expect to see her in one of the 10-furlong trials in the early part of the season. Most of the fillies on the classification list are shorter runners and there is an opportunity for a middle-distance filly to step forward, she could be one.” (MB)

DANCING VEGA (Ralph Beckett)

“She made a great impression on her debut. She was racing against more experienced fillies, but she knew her job and it was impressive to see her take control of the race on the bridle and then shoot away with a squeeze. The form stacks up and the second won the Listed Montrose Stakes at Newmarket. There is lots in her pedigree that would say she will stay 10 furlongs, but I would not have any qualms about her over a mile. If she were mine, she would stop off in the Guineas en route to the Oaks.” (GS)


“The one I really like is Dubai Warrior. He won a reasonable race at Chelmsford, but he was impressive. They didn’t go hard in the early stages, but he made up an awful lot of ground on the clock in the last three furlongs and posted a respectable time. I don’t think he is going to be a miler. I think he will be going to a Derby trial, then hopefully something better beyond that. He might have only run once, but if he is not something very special I would be amazed. He is a very good horse and one to pen in the notebook.” (GS)

QUOTE (Aidan O’Brien)

“She is a little more under the radar. She only had one run at the back-end in a maiden at Leopardstown over a mile. She finished ninth out of 20, which is fairly unremarkable on the face of it. She was out the back with one or two turning in, but she ate the ground up the straight and was really flying at the finish and was difficult to pull up after the race, which is a good sign. She has a long way to go to be a pattern contender, but I was taken how she came home that day.” (MB)

SKARDU (William Haggas)

“The mile division looks strong, but if there is a dark horse that could ruffle a few feathers, I’m pretty sure it’s Skardu. The market didn’t point to Skardu on his debut and he was sent off 33/1. He certainly knew an awful lot less than the third and fourth horses. Giving them a start in a race where they were quickening in the last two furlongs, not only did he make up the ground but he surged right past. I’m hoping he will start in a race like the Greenham then go from there.” (GS)

SUCELLUS (John Gosden)

“We didn’t see him until Wolverhampton in early December. The striking thing about his performance is that he had absolutely no chance from where he raced. He was too green and he got an awful long way back in a modestly-run race. He absolutely shot down the straight to win impressively, even though it was only by half a length. It is hard to pin your colours to the mast on this one and say he is a top horse. There is just something about the way that he quickened from a hopeless position. It has got to be a Derby trial for him, and I would be hoping we see him figure prominently in those races before going on to something better.” (GS)