Two Irish Group 1 races have been rated as the best in the world in their categories in the 2017 Irish, European and World Thoroughbred Rankings released this afternoon.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby has been rated as the leading three-year-old race in the world and the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes is ranked as the world’s best fillies and mares’ race.
At the Curragh in early July, Capri gave Aidan O’Brien his 12th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. In a thrilling renewal, he edged out the John Gosden-trained Cracksman which went on to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, the Qatar Prix Niel at Chantilly and the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot while in third place was the Epsom Derby winner Wings Of Eagles. Capri completed a notable Classic double when adding the Doncaster St Leger where those in behind included Rekindling which was to become the first three-year-old since 1941 to win the Melbourne Cup for Joseph O'Brien in November.
The Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, one of the highlights of the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown in September, also produced a race to remember with two top-class Ballydoyle fillies fighting out the finish. Only a head separated Hydrangea and Winter, and the end of year ratings sees the race declared the best fillies and mares’ race in the world. A remarkably consistent filly, Hydrangea rounded off her season with a decisive success in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot. Winter was the leading contributor to Aidan O'Brien’s record haul of Group/Grade 1 success in 2017 with four Group 1 wins. The form of the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes was further strengthened when the third-placed Persuasive ended her year with victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Jason Morris, Director of Racing, Horse Racing Ireland, said: “It is very pleasing that last year the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby was the highest rating race restricted to three-year-olds run anywhere in the world and that the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend rated the highest of all the fillies and mares’ races. To have two Irish races as the global leaders in their respective categories in 2017 underlines the incredible quality of the Irish Flat racing programme and the calibre of horses that racegoers can expect to see on our premier Flat racing days.”