Ryan is feeling on top of the world

YORKSHIRE boasts one of the three joint-best three-year-old racehorses in the world.

Trainer Kevin Ryan kisses The Grey Gatsby after winning Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (Picture: Niall Carson/PA).
Trainer Kevin Ryan kisses The Grey Gatsby after winning Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown (Picture: Niall Carson/PA).

The Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings could not separate Europe’s star colts Australia, Kingman and Yorkshire-trained The Grey Gatsby as the highest-rated in racing at a ceremony in London.

The three horses were each given a rating of 127 after enjoying stellar seasons.

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Australia, trained by Aidan O’Brien, won the Epsom Derby and the Irish equivalent at the Curragh as well as the Juddmonte International at York, but he was beaten in the Irish Champion Stakes by The Grey Gatsby. Hambleton-based Kevin Ryan’s grey also won the Prix du Jockey Club – the French derby – the Thirsk trainer’s first classic success.

Kingman, from John Gosden’s stable proved himself the best miler in Europe with Group One victories in the Irish 2000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, 
Sussex Stakes and Prix du Moulin before being retired.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Kingman’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “It was truly exciting, he really got people lifting off their seats waiting for him to accelerate. He had a great season.”

Japan secured the top two rankings in the world courtesy of the wide-margin Dubai Duty Free winner Just A Way (130) – the first time a horse from Japan has officially been the best in the world – and Japan Cup scorer Epiphaneia (129).

However, Europe provided five of the top 10 ratings with dual Arc de Triomphe victor Treve on 126 and emphatic German Derby hero Sea The Moon on 125.

Taghrooda, a stablemate of Kingman’s, was top-rated three-year-old filly with a mark of 123 after winning the Investec Oaks and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The Fugue, also from the Gosden yard, earned a rating of 124 thanks to achieving Group One glory for the third successive year with victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Seasoned French-trained stars Cirrus Des Aigles and Flintshire each acquired a rating of 123 to end the year as the joint top-rated European older male horses alongside the O’Brien-trained Magician, who raced in four countries during a busy year.

Edward Lynam’s Slade Power (119) ended 2014 as the highest-rated European-trained sprinter, by winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Darley July Cup.

New British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust had his colours carried to victory for the first time since his appointment with Stickleback toughing it out in the wetherbyracing.co.uk Handicap Hurdle.

Formerly the managing director of retail for Ladbrokes, Rust officially took over the reins of British racing’s regulator from the departing Paul Bittar on Monday.

Stickleback, a maiden after 20 previous outings, was a 10-1 shot for her latest assignment and looked booked for minor honours when 3-1 favourite Minella Bliss moved ominously to the front in the straight.

However, the market leader produced a tired leap at the final flight and Stickleback took full advantage under Wilson Renwick, running on to score by a length and three-quarters.

Conditional jockey Kyle James was handed a two-day suspension (February 3 and 4) for using his whip above the permitted level on the third-placed Nalim.

Hammond and Renwick were also on the mark in the second division of the Bramham Hall For Conferences & Events Handicap Hurdle as 7-1 shot Rayadour struck gold at Wetherby for the third time.

Devilment may have earned himself a place among John Ferguson’s Cheltenham Festival squad following a runaway victory in the Watch On 3 Devices racinguk.com/anywhere Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.

The son of Cape Cross was all the rage as the 2-5 favourite after filling the runner-up spot on his jumping bow at Plumpton and barely came off the bridle in the hands of AP McCoy, passing the post with four lengths in hand over Lucky Jim.

The champion jockey later steered the Jonjo O’Neill-trained 11-10 favourite Beg To Differ to a workmanlike success in the Download New Racing UK iPad App “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

Trainer Lucinda Russell also enjoyed a double on the afternoon, with Clondaw Knight completing the brace with a demolition of his rivals in the feature New Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap Chase.

Stepped up to three miles for the first time, the 10-year-old shot sauntered clear under a confident Peter Buchanan, winging the final fence to seal a 14-length success over Swing Hard.

Rowdy Rocher, a 5-1 shot, came good in the totepool Medieval Day-Saturday 31st January Handicap Chase for Graham Watters, beating game front-runner Free World by seven lengths.

Having been as big as 8-1 when betting opened, Mick Easterby’s 9-2 shot Billy Two Tongues and top amateur Harry Bannister landed a touch in the first division of the Bramham Hall For Conferences & Events Handicap Hurdle.