Back to articles

Series hero Frankel recognised as the best since ratings began

15 Jan 2013

QIPCO British Champions Series superstar, Frankel, has been recognised by the international handicappers as the best since ratings began in 1977, setting a new benchmark for equine excellence.

Frankel was in a class of his own, lighting up the QIPCO British Champions Series with nine scintillating victories. Image courtesy of

Frankel is the best racehorse since ratings began in 1977, the international handicappers have announced today.

Rated 140 for his victories in both the 2012 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the 2012 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August, Frankel is now two pounds ahead of his nearest challenger, Dancing Brave, winner of the 1986 2000 Guineas, Eclipse, King George and Arc.

This follows a recalibration of past ratings which has been worked on by the handicappers for the past four years, which led to a consistent reduction in the ratings from the early years of international handicapping to bring them into line with modern ratings.

Dancing Brave had been rated 141, but every horse from 1986 has had their rating reduced by three pounds.

For 1977 the reduction was seven pounds, while the last year to have its ratings decreased was a one pound drop in 1991.

Frankel’s remarkable achievements in his 14 race unbeaten career, nine of which were in the QIPCO British Champions Series, do not rest with being officially the best horse since 1977.

He is also the only horse in the modern era to be world champion two-year-old, three-year-old and four-year-old and he is the only horse to record a rating of 135 or above no less than six times in his career, including those two record-breaking 140s.

"Frankel is the new benchmark for equine excellence," said Ireland’s senior handicapper, Garry O’Gorman.

"You would have to go back to the early seventies, to the likes of Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard, to find a horse with anything approaching his profile."

Today’s release of the 2012 World Thoroughbred Rankings also highlighted that the two highest-rated horses in the world, Frankel and Cirrus des Aigles, won the first two runnings of the QIPCO Champion Stakes in its new slot on QIPCO British Champions Day.

That is some claim to fame for the race which was the highest rated in the world last year, when Frankel defeated the 2011 winner Cirrus des Aigles, with the 2011 King George and 2012 Eclipse winner, Nathaniel, in third and German Derby winner, Pastorius, in fourth.


The BHA Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, discusses the lengthy ratings and historical recalibration process