British thoroughbred Frankel has been rated the world’s best thoroughbred in recent history, in the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings.
For the first time since the inauguration of the scoring system in 2004, there are four horses rated over 130, with Frankel reaching 140.
Frankel’s rating was one below that of Dancing Brave, who achieved 141 in 1986, but the handicappers agreed to a recalibration of past ratings, which moved Dancing Brave to 138, two behind Frankel.
South American horses appear in the rankings for the very first time, with three from Argentina, three from Brazil, two from Chile and one from Peru warranting a rating of 115 or higher.
The scores are compiled by the World Rankings Supervisory Committee and published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities annually.
British-trained Frankel, a four-year-old, who has now been retired, was unbeaten during 2012, adding five Group One wins to his tally and improving his 2011 rating of 136 to a new historical high of 140 in 2012.
He first attained that rating over 1600m in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot when he annihilated the field by 11 lengths. He did it again when moving up in distance for the first time to 2000m in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) at York.
As well as achieving 140 in these two races, what is astonishing about his career record is the fact that he ran to a mark of 130 or higher on eight separate occasions and on six of those occasions he achieved a race rating of 135 or higher.
To put this in perspective, his nearest rival in recent times – Sea the Stars, in Ireland, who reached 136 in 2009, achieved a race rating of 130-plus on three occasions, and only one of those was 135 or higher.
From a European perspective, while eight horses have been champion racehorse at both two and three years of age since the International Classifications commenced in 1977, Frankel this year became the first horse to be officially a champion (or joint champion) at two, three and four years of age during that period.
The Australian mare Black Caviar, at 130, retained her unbeaten career record during 2012, adding a further five Group 1s to her record with her most notable victory taking place at Flemington in February, when she defeated top class sprinters with ease, most notably Hay List (125), in the group-one Coolmore Lightning Stakes.
The World Thoroughbred Rankings are compiled by the World Rankings Supervisory Committee and published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).