WHEN Timeform’s much-loved Racehorses annuals ceased publication after their 2019 edition, a veteran Irish racing and pedigree analyst and writer stepped up to ensure that there would still be a permanent and objective historical record of each European racing season.

Already author of the European Group 1 winners of 2018 and European Group 1 Winners of 2019 annuals, and with the 2020 edition of that budding series almost complete, she decided to examine all of the Irish and British Group 2 and Group 3 winners too, to fill some of the gap left by Racehorses’ demise.

Time constraints – Timeform’s announcement came late in the year – led to the decision to split that first edition of Best Racehorses into two volumes: one with Group 1 winners and the other with the rest of the pattern winners. Both contained an extended version of the data section already established in the prior books.

Since then, the annuals have been published as a single volume each spring, and in addition to all the Irish- and British-trained pattern winners of the year – worldwide – plus European Group 1 winners, the main essay section now also includes all winners of French Group 2 races.

The extensive data section, which contains invaluable racing and pedigree detail for breeders, trainers, bloodstock agents, nominations managers, racing writers, punters, and more, now also includes all French Group 3s plus the Group 2 and Group 3 races run in Germany during the year.

The fourth edition, Best Racehorses of 2023, was published in April and reviews have hailed it as “brilliant”, “essential”, “superb”, and “a masterpiece”.

Reviews of prior editions have described the series as being “first class” (Jim Bolger), “a veritable tour de force” (Tony Morris), “tremendous value” (Kingsley Klarion), “an utterly comprehensive, one-stop resource for devotees of the flat game” (Racing Post), “Flat racing’s finest publication” (Amazon reviewer), and “an incredibly valuable addition to the libraries of racing and breeding buffs” (TDN).

Remarkably, Best Racehorses annuals are entirely the work of a single person, a former Sporting Life tipster and sales reporter, Racing Post Irish bloodstock sales correspondent and long-time pedigree analysis columnist and stallion reviewer for The Irish Field.

Sieglinde McGee, whose CV also includes being a prize-winning graduate of the Irish National Stud’s renowned Thoroughbred Breeding Course, also earned a PhD from Trinity College Dublin in 2005 for a thesis titled ‘Behavioural reactivity and ensuing temperamental traits in young thoroughbred racehorses (Equus caballus)’.

Semi-reclusive, autistic, and currently working on Best Racehorses of 2024, McGee is also a data analyst in the public sector since early last year.

Best Racehorses annuals are print-on-demand paperbacks, each between 700-800 pages in length, they do not include photos, and they are only available to purchase via Amazon.

Why? Cost.

A team of one and with limited means can only afford to produce work of this scale, depth, and attention to detail by using Amazon’s KDP platform for printing and distribution.

Unfortunately, due to Brexit, readers in Ireland have to use Amazon.de (https://www.amazon.de/dp/1838433147), .fr, or .com if they want to secure a copy of the latest edition because Amazon has not made it available to ship to Ireland via.co.uk. But prior editions are on sale on all their sites.