Leading the way: Knicks Go is new number one on world rankings after Breeders’ Cup triumph

Horse Racing Knicks Go
New world #1: Knicks Go (Joel Rosario) after Breeders’ Cup Classic success. Photo: Bill Denver /Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

By Nicholas Godfrey

USA: Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Knicks Go is the new world #1 according to Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s weekly Global Rankings.

The Brad Cox-trained five-year-old, who is set to end his career in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in January, gained a big 166-point boost – enough to catapult him from fifth to top spot on the rankings ahead of the now-retired St Mark’s Basilica.

World Top 20 racehorses

Knicks Go beat Medina Spirit (#12 from #21) by 2¾ lengths in a brilliant all-the-way effort under Joel Rosario to claim America’s richest race at Del Mar. The son of Paynter has won seven of his nine starts since joining Cox for 2020, among them the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (2020) plus the Pegasus, Whitney and Lukas Classic in 2021 before the $6m Classic.

Rosario stays at #3 among jockeys behind world leader James McDonald, who landed the Melbourne Cup on Verry Elleegant (#7 from #24) as the highlight of a spectacular week for the jockey with a record ten wins at Flemington.

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby strengthened his position at the top with his three-winner haul at Del Mar via Modern Games, Space Blues and Yibir.

Unlike traditional methods of racehorse rankings, the TRC Global Rankings are a measure of an individual’s level of achievement over a rolling three-year period.

Since 2014, TRC Global Rankings have provided a principled hierarchy of the leading jockeys, trainers, owners and sires using statistical learning techniques.

Two years in the gestation, racehorse rankings were published for the first time in August 2020 and can be compared to similar exercises in other sports, like the golf’s world rankings or the ATP rankings in tennis.

View the complete TRC rankings

Under the traditional IFHA-backed system, handicappers assign ratings for every run a horse makes, then use the best one to establish its place in an overall classification.

The annual Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, for instance, could more accurately be described as the ‘World’s Best Racehorse Performances’ because they use one number per horse to infer a hierarchy – with no reference to other performances which may support the assessment.

The week’s best Beyer: Knicks Go

World top 20 racehorses | World top jockeys and trainers

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