Winning connections of the 2014 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, Just A Way - Mr. Masayuki Goto, President & CEO of JRA, Mr. Naosuke Sugai, trainer of Just A Way, Longines Vice President and Head of International Marketing Mr. Juan-Carlos Capelli, Ms. Saki Nemoto (Just A Way), Mr. Akatsuki Yamatoya, owner of Just A Way, IFHA Chairman Mr. Louis Romanet and Mr. Yuichi Fukunaga, jockey of Just A Way / Longines (p)

This is the happiest moment of my life to receive this prize in London. The first time I came to London was when Just A Way’s sire Heart’s Cry ran in the King George at Ascot. I was just one member of the syndicate that owned him and now I have achieved my dream of owning a really good horse outright.
— Akatsuki Yamatoya / Owner

LONGINES WORLD'S BEST RACEHORSE AWARDS 2014
 

In 2006, Japan caught the attention of the wider racing world when Delta Blues (Jpn) (Dance In The Dark) and Pop Rock (Jpn) (Helissio) finished first and second in the Melbourne Cup. There have been plenty more high-profile international raids in subsequent years, most notably the 6 1/4-length romp of Just A Way (Jpn) (Heart's Cry) in the G1 Dubai Duty Free on Meydan's World Cup night - a performance which has earned the 6-year-old the title of Longines World's Best Racehorse at a prestigious London ceremony Tuesday.

Once again, however, the Japanese star was backed up by a compatriot. His rating of 130 puts him just a pound clear of the Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia (Jpn) (Symboli Kris S), who beat Just A Way by four lengths in that Group 1 contest in November, for which he was rated 129.

Gallopers from Hong Kong, South Africa, Britain and Ireland tied for third place with Able Friend (Aus) (Shamardal)'s G1 Longines Hong King Mile victory, for which he was given a mark of 127, judged to be the equal of Variety Club (SAf) (Var)'s G1 Champions Mile success and the performances of Kingman (GB) (Invincible Spirit) in the G1 St James's Place Stakes at Royal Ascot and The Grey Gatsby (Ire) (Mastercraftsman) in the G1 QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, for which runner-up Australia (GB) (Galileo) was given the same rating. Coolmore's dual Derby winner also ran to 127 when winning the G2 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

Just below this quintet was the joint-top-rated horse of 2013, Treve (Fr) (Motivator), who this time around was awarded 126 for her repeat victory in the G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Having shared overall top billing with Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit) the previous year, Criquette Head-Maarek's stable star remained top of the distaffers in 2014.

"This is the happiest moment of my life to receive this prize in London," said Akatsuki Yamatoya, who was joined at the awards ceremony by trainer Naosuke Sugai and jockey Yuichi Fukunaga. "The first time I came to London was when Just A Way's sire Heart's Cry ran in the King George at Ascot. I was just one member of the syndicate that owned him and now I have achieved my dream of owning a really good horse outright."

LONGINES WORLD'S BEST RACEHORSES 2014
TOP 8 HORSES

# Rating Horse Owner Trainer
1 130 JUST A WAY (Jpn) Akatsuki Yamatoya Naosuke Sugai
2 129 EPIPHANEIA (Jpn) U Carrot Farm Katsuhiko Sumii
3 127 VARIETY CLUB (Saf) Mrs Ingrid Jooste & Markus Jooste Mike de Kock
3 127 ABLE FRIEND (Aus) Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan John Moore
3 127 AUSTRALIA (GB) Derrick Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Michael Tabor, Teo Ah Khing Aidan O'Brien
3 127 KINGMAN (GB) Khalid Abdullah John Gosden
3 127 THE GREY GATSBY (Ire) F Gillespie Kevin Ryan
4 126 TREVE (Fr) Al Shaqab Racing Criquette Head-Maarek

The Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings is horseracing's equivalent to World Rankings by other major sporting organizations such as ATP Tennis Rankings, World Golf Rankings, FIFA World Rankings for soccer and IRB Rugby World Rankings. The Longines rankings are based on the ratings earned by horses running worldwide from North and South America, Europe, Middle East, South Africa, and Asia through to Australia and New Zealand. The ratings are compiled under the auspices of The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) by racing officials and handicappers representing the five continents who compile the ranking order by agreeing on the rating for each horse. The ratings are based on the performance of horses in elite races held during the designated period which takes into account the quality of opposition and achievements of each horse. Throughout the year the Longines rankings are published at regular intervals and the consolidated annual rankings are released in January. The annual rankings denote the champions in the various distance categories for example, sprint or mile, surface either turf or dirt/artificial and also the fillies and mares category.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News & IFHA

Comment