In particular, Aidan O’Brien has produced a slew of Group 1 operators at all ages, with Australia rated the joint champion three-year-old colt in the world after his Derby double and International Stakes successes.
He is joined on a rating of 127 by his Irish Champion Stakes nemesis, The Great Gatsby and Irish 1000 Guineas victor, Kingman.
In winning the Investec Epsom Derby, O’Brien made became the first trainer in the 235-year history of that race to win it three consecutive years, following on from Camelot and Ruler of the World.
The Ballydoyle maestro was also responsible for Adelaide (120), who was the first horse trained outside Australasia to win Australia’s premier championship race, the Cox Plate.
In all, the son of Galileo ran in four countries last year and also annexed the Secretariat Stakes in America, making him the joint best Irish older horse prospect for 2015 along with the Dermot Weld-trained Free Eagle.
Another Tipperary handler, Tom Hogan was the first northern hemisphere trainer to win a Group 1 race in New South Wales when the globe-trotting Gordon Lord Byron (116) took the George Ryder Stakes.
Gordon Lord Byron is just behind the Power family’s remarkable duo Slade Power (119) and Sole Power (118) in the sprint standings, with Slade just touching off his stablemate at Eddie Lynam’s Dunshaughlin base for the mantle of champion European sprinter.
O’Brien’s Tapestry was the highest-rated Irish filly in 2014, earning a mark of 120 when claiming the scalp of Investec Oaks and King George heroine, Taghrooda in the Yorkshire Oaks. The scintillating successes at Epsom and Ascot make Taghrooda the standard-bearer though, on a rating of 123.
Of the 50 juveniles rated 110 or higher in Europe, 15 were trained in Ireland. The highest rated Irish juvenile of 2014 was the O’Brien-trained filly Found (117), which marked the first time since Belle Genius and Evan Luna shared top spot on 115 in 1994 that the Irish champion juvenile was a member of the fairer sex.
Found’s commanding success in the Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp rocketed her to the position of joint champion European juvenile filly with Richard Hannon’s Tiggy Wiggy.
It puts her alongside Listen as the highest-rated juvenile filly ever trained by O’Brien, but behind Jim Bolger’s brilliant Finsceal Beo, whose mark of 119 in 2006 remains the highest rating for an Irish-trained horse in that category.
As a glance of the ante-post prices for the Derby will tell you, O’Brien dominates the colts’ rankings in Ireland with National Stakes victor Gleneagles (116) top of the tree.
Magician (123) did not manage to emulate his Group 1 success of 2013 but he still ran within a pound of his rating that term when pushing The Fugue all the way in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes.
In the process, he achieved the accolade of joint top older cold in the world in the intermediate (10f) turf category, sharing with evergreen French gelding Cirrus Des Aigles and the Hong Kong duo of Military Attack and Designs On Rome. The latter was formerly trained by Waterford handler, Pat Flynn.
In terms of world rankings, 2014 is historic in that the Longines world’s best racehorse came from Asia for the first time. Orfevre (129) and Lord Kanaloa (128) have gotten close in recent years, but it is another Japanese-trained horse that has made the breakthrough.
A facile victory in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free pushed Just A Way to a 130 rating, just ahead of Japan Cup winner, Epiphaneia (129).