KEMBOY has been announced as the highest-rated jumps horse of the 2018-'19 season at the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications press conference, hosted at Sandown Park on Thursday by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB).
Kemboy’s two-length defeat of Al Boum Photo (175) at Punchestown earned him a rating of 177, the highest awarded since Don Cossack in the 2015-'16 season.
Dual Champion Chase hero Altior (175) gained top honours in the two-mile division after another dominant campaign over fences, while Cyrname’s win in the Ascot Chase in February (176) made him the top-rated chaser over two-and-a-half miles.
Another impressive Punchestown winner topped the novice chasers in the shape of Chacun Pour Soi (167), with JLT Novices’ Chase winner Defi Du Seuil (162) and Paul Nicholls’ Topofthegame (164) leading the intermediate and staying divisions respectively.
Espoir D’Allen’s Champion Hurdle victory earned him a rating of 170, a pound clear of leading staying hurdler Paisley Park (169) with Apple’s Jade (163) on top at intermediate distances.
Victories at Cheltenham for Klassical Dream (160), City Island (153) and Minella Indo (153) saw them top the respective classifications for novice and juvenile hurdlers, with the progressive Pentland Hills (153) ending the season as the top rated four-year-old.
Martin Greenwood, Steeplechase Team Leader, said: “Kemboy at 177 is the highest rated chaser in 2018/19 following his defeat of Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo (175) in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup. Both horses are only seven years of age and there is no reason why they both can’t continue to improve.''
Tiger Roll (172) is the third highest chaser in the staying division and is immortalised in the history books following his superb second consecutive Grand National victory.
“A strong staying novice division was headed by Topfothegame (164), who beat Santini and Delta Work (both 163) in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, with Aintree scorer Lostintranslation (161) not far behind. This quartet all look capable of making their mark in the top staying events next season.”
Michael Harris, steeplechase handicapper, said: “For the second year in succession the champion in the two-and-a-half-mile division has earnt their rating in winning the Betfair Ascot Chase.
"Cyrname (176) produced a scintillating display with one of the most dominant Grade 1 performances in recent years on his final run of the season in February. He is the highest rated horse in Britain and is set to be aimed at the King George next season in what could prove a vintage renewal.
“In the novice division, Defi Du Seuil (162) led a strong crop with A Plus Tard (161) both achieving a rating higher than last season’s champion Al Boum Photo (159). He clearly left that form behind this year and there would be no reason to think this year’s novices have reached their peak yet either.”
Chris Nash, steeplechase handicapper, said: "Champion Chase winner Altior led the two-mile chase division after his fourth successive unbeaten season over obstacles. His rating of 175 matches what he achieved last season and his victory in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December was arguably his most solid piece of form. He is likely to be stepped up in distance next year and it will be fascinating to see what he can achieve.
“The two-mile novice chase division saw its champion crowned very late in the season when Chacun Pour Soi beat four previous Grade 1 novice chase winners (including the afore mentioned Defi du Seuil) in winning the Ryanair Chase at Punchestown. His figure of 167 has him as the leading novice chaser of the season. He’s only had seven career starts so far and just three over fences so he has plenty of room to progress next season.
“If Altior does step up in distance Chacun Pour Soi may well become the horse to beat in the top-level two-mile chases.”
Andrew Mealor, Hurdle Team Leader, said: “Paisley Park went unbeaten in five runs in the 2018-'19 season and was clearly the dominant force in the staying division. He ends the year on a rating of 169 on the back of two top-class performances at Cheltenham, a wide-margin success in the Cleeve Hurdle followed by a clear-cut win over Sam Spinner (164) and Faugheen (160) in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Although a few pounds shy of the likes of Big Buck’s and Thistlecrack (both 174) as things stand, he has plenty of time on his side as a seven-year-old and may yet have a bigger performance in him.
“The winners of the two staying novice events at Cheltenham, City Island and Minella Indo (both 153), both topped their respective novice divisions, and they along with fellow novice Champ (153) and Aintree winner If The Cap Fits (160) will hopefully provide some new opposition to Paisley Park in the 2019/20 season.”
David Dickinson, hurdle handicapper, said: “The 2019 Unibet Champion Hurdle produced a surprise, wide margin winner in the five-year-old Espoir D’Allen. That none of the market leaders ran to their best makes any figure for the winner the subject of some conjecture and in rating him 170, through the handicap form of Silver Streak, it puts him midway between the highest 176 and lowest 164 of Champion Hurdle winners in the history of the classifications.
“Buveur D’Air fell that day but he started his season impressively beating Samcro in Newcastle’s Betvictor Fighting Fifth and this performance is rated the equal of his best ever two-mile hurdle run on 167. The novices Klassical Dream 160, Getaway Trump 155, and Pentland Hills 153 could all develop into worthy opponents for the established champion contenders next season.”
Category Winner Rating
3-mile-plus Chaser Kemboy (FR)* 177
2 ½-mile Chaser Cyrname (FR) 176
2-mile Chaser Altior (IRE) 175
3-mile-plus Novice Chaser Topofthegame (IRE) 164
2 ½-mile Novice Chaser Defi du Seuil (FR) 162
2-mile Novice Chaser Chacun Pour Soi (FR)* 167
2-mile Hurdler Espoir d'Allen (FR)* 170
2-mile 3f+ Hurdler Apple's Jade (FR)* 163
3-mile-plus Hurdler Paisley Park (IRE) 169
2-mile Novice Hurdler Klassical Dream (FR)* 160
2-mile 3f+ Novice Hurdler City Island (IRE)* 153
3-mile-plus Novice Hurdler Minella Indo (IRE)* 153
READ RORY DELARGY'S COMMENT ON THE NATIONAL HUNT CLASSIFICATION ONLY IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND