world thoroughbred(Pharohs Choice/GEOS)

New Approach (Galileo) owned by Princess Haya of Jordan and Curlin (Smart Strike) owned by Stonestreet Stables LLC & Midnight Cry Stables emerged as the joint-top performers of 2008 after the World Thoroughbred Rankings were revealed in London yesterday.

The TDN reports that both were rated on 130 pounds by the panel of international handicappers, their deadlock coming as a result of New Approach’s six-length success in the Champion Stakes (Gr1) in October at Newmarket and Curlin’s exploits on the dirt when winning the Dubai World Cup (Gr1)at Nad Al Sheba in March as well as the Stephen Foster Handicap (Gr1) at Churchill Downs in June.

New Approach, who also took the Epsom Derby (Gr1) and Irish Champion Stakes (Gr1), was registering his second championship in the rankings, having dominated the two-year-old division in 2007, while Curlin was upped by two pounds from last year’s mark, when he shared the top dirt honors with Invasor.

Raven’s Pass (Elusive Quality), who also raced in the colors of Princess Haya of Jordan when rounding off his three-year-old campaign with successes in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr1) at Ascot in September and Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr1) on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride the following month, was a pound behind the dual champions on 129, while His Highness the Aga Khan’s Zarkava (Zamindar) was next best with a rating of 128. That was enough to secure the unbeaten Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr1) heroine the title of the world’s champion of her sex; it’s the highest achieved by a filly or mare since Miesque.

Languishing three pounds behind that stellar performer were Jerome Moss’ unbeaten Zenyatta (Street Cry) - rated the top dirt female on 125 pounds - and the Wertheimer Brothers’ fellow Breeders’ Cup heroine Goldikova (Anabaa).

Garry O’Gorman, senior Irish handicapper and co-chairman of the group of handicappers and racing secretaries who form the World Rankings Supervisory Committee, paid tribute to the distaffers of 2008. “This was a year of exceptional fillies,” Garry O’Gorman said. “Last year, I was excited by Darjina, Rags to Riches and Peeping Fawn, but these have blown them out of the water. Zarkava has been rated the best French filly since Miesque, Goldikova is the best female miler in 10 years and Zenyatta is the best filly in North America this century. Zenyatta and Goldikova both stay in training. Goldikova could emulate Miesque with back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Miles, while we can only dream how good Zenyatta might be.”

Of the remainder, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor’s five-time Group 1 winner Duke of Marmalade (Danehill) was top of the older horse category on turf with a rating of 127 pounds, while IEAH Stables’ Big Brown (Boundary) was the best sophomore on dirt courtesy of his victories in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. The 123-rated Midnight Lute (Real Quiet) and Sacred Kingdom (Encosta de Lago) shared the top sprinters’ title, while the European trio of Conduit (Dalakhani), Yeats (Sadler’s Wells) and Septimus (Sadler’s Wells) were together on 122 pounds in the stayers’ division.

For the fifth time in 10 years, it was Aidan O’Brien who was responsible for the highest-rated two-year-old colt after Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer) inched the category with a rating of 122 pounds courtesy of his Phoenix Stakes (Gr1) success at The Curragh in August. He eclipsed the same ownership’s Prix Morny (Gr1) and Middle Park Stakes (Gr1) winner Bushranger (Danetime) by a pound, with Paul Reddam’s Racing Post Trophy (Gr1) hero Crowded House (Rainbow Quest) on 120 pounds. George Strawbridge’s unbeaten Rainbow View (Dynaformer) headed the two-year-old filly division with a mark of 118, three pounds clear of Khalid Abdullah’s Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1) winner Proportional (Beat Hollow).

Matthew Tester, the British Horseracing Authority’s two-year-old handicapper, reflected on a below-par set of ratings for the juvenile crop of 2008. “The mark of 122 is unusually low and results from the lack of an outstanding performance over the year,” he said. “The last time it was below 123 was in 2003 with Bago. I expect Mastercraftsman to become a multiple Group 1 winner, but you’ve got to respect Crowded House. Rainbow View always looked like being the one to beat, and she got her rating from winning the Fillies’ Mile (Gr1). I am totally confident John Gosden will do a suitable job, and I expect her to have a fantastic year.”

Curlin Smart Srtike 130
Duke of Marmalade (Ire) Danehill 127
Youmzain (Ire) Sinndar (Ire) 125
Zenyatta Street Cry (Ire) 125
Good Ba Ba Lear Fan 124
It’s Gino (Ger) Perugino 124
Papal Bull (GB) Montjeu (Ire) 124
Soldier of Fortune (Ire) Galileo (Ire) 124
New Approach (Ire) Galileo (Ire) 130
Raven’s Pass Elusive Quality 129
Zarkava (Ire) (f) Zamindar 128
Big Brown Boundary 125
Conduit (Ire) Dalakhani (Ire) 125
Goldikova (Ire) (f) Anabaa 125
Henrythenavigator Kingmambo 125
Montmartre (Fr) Montjeu (Ire) 125
Mastercraftsman (Ire) Danehill Dancer (Ire) 122
Bushranger (Ire) Danetime (Ire) 121
Crowded House (GB) Rainbow Quest 120
Intense Focus Giant’s Causeway 119
Naaqoos (GB) Oasis Dream (GB) 119
Finjaan (GB) Royal Applause (GB) 118
Gallagher (GB) Bahamian Bounty (GB) 118
Lord Shanakill Speightstown 118
Milanais (Fr) Dyhim Diamond (Ire) 118
Rainbow View (f) Dynaformer 118
Sayif (Ire) Kheleyf 118
Shaweel (GB) Dansili (GB) 118