Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs has been crowned the leading Jumps horse of the 2022/23 season in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications with a rating of 179.
Constitution Hill and Energumene share the runners-up spot on a mark of 175, with the latter becoming the highest-rated British-trained hurdler since Classifications were first published in 1999/2000.
Held annually, the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification identifies the best Steeplechaser and Hurdlers that were trained in either Britain or Irland between the 2022/2023 season. The classification also includes those horses based in France where the achievement was obtained in Britain or Ireland. It is not a handicap but a retrospective measurement of best sustainable performances during the recent season so there may be differences from current handicap marks.
The ratings were agreed and compiled by: Andrew Shaw and Shay Quinn (Ireland), Martin Greenwood, Andrew Mealor, Mark Olley, Chris Nash, Michael Harris, James Norris and Graeme Smith (Great Britain).
Martin Greenwood, BHA Steeplechase Handicap Team Leader, said:
Ireland is responsible for two of the top three Chase horses in the 2022/23 Anglo-Irish Classifications. Galopin des Champs and Energumene head the staying and short distance divisions respectively after dominant displays at the Cheltenham Festival. The pair were both below that form at Punchestown the following month but that doesn’t take away from their blistering efforts at the Festival.”
Galopin Des Champs
Galopin Des Champs, trained by Wille Mullins for owner Audrey Turley, won a thrilling edition of the Cheltenham Festival showpiece, which saw him jump the final fence together with Bravemansgame (172) before powering clear up the hill to win by seven lengths.
That victory followed comfortable wins in the John Durkan at Punchestown and the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and put the seven-year-old 4lbs clear of his nearest rivals at the top of the standings.
Andrew Shaw, Senior IHRB National Hunt Handicapper, said:
Galopin Des Champs followed up his two Grade 1 victories at Punchestown and Leopardstown with the best performance by a staying chaser this season in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. Although beaten for the first time over fences by Fastorslow at Punchestown the following month, at only seven years of age he has the potential to go on and win at least one more Gold Cup.”
Unibet Champion Hurdle winner Constitution Hill remains unbeaten under Rules and his rating puts him 10lbs clear of nearest hurdles rival State Man (165), who followed him home at Cheltenham.
The six-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson for owner Michael Buckley, had a flawless season which began with comfortable wins in the Betfair Fighting Fifth and Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle pre-Cheltenham, before responding well to being stepped up in trip in the William Hill Aintree Hurdle last month.
His mark puts him just 1lb behind the only three-time Champion Hurdle-winner Istabraq (176) and racing fans will be eagerly anticipating his return for the 2023-24 season. Whether that is over hurdles or fences remains to be seen.
Andrew Mealor, BHA Hurdle Handicap Team Leader, said:
Constitution Hill topped the hurdle rankings for the second season running as he added another four Grade 1 races to his burgeoning CV. His top performance of 175 came when beating State Man by nine lengths in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, a rating which puts him behind only triple Champion Hurdle-winner Istabraq and Faugheen, both 176, among the top two milers since Classifications were first published.”
Energumene finished joint-second with Constitution Hill after a dominant ten-length win in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and he will return to Cheltenham next season in search of a record-equalling third Champion Chase crown.
The leading British horse over fences was Shishkin, who sits atop the middle-distance chase division on a mark of 173 thanks to a devastating 16-length win in the Betfair Ascot Chase in February.
The Simon Munir & Isaac Souede-owned El Fabiolo had a magnificent novice chase campaign for Willie Mullins, winning all four of his races including the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy, and leads the novice ranks with a rating of 170.
The outstanding novice of the season was the unbeaten El Fabiolo who won Grade 1 races at Cheltenham, beating the 166-rated Jonbon, and Punchestown.”commented Greenwood.
A potential clash with leading two-mile chaser Energumene is one to look forward to next season.
Also owned by Munir & Souede is Impaire Et Passe who finished the season as the highest-rated novice hurdler (160) after landing the Ballymore in impressive fashion at Cheltenham, defeating subsequent Grade 1 winner Gaelic Warrior (153) with relative ease.
Changes in Classification
The Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications are for all chasers and hurdlers down to a rating of 150. Originally the classification included horses rated 130 and above, which was later revised to 140 and above. 2020/21 was the first time the classification has been limited to 150 and above
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