Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) hero Hurricane Run was rated the top Northern Hemisphere performer of 2005 by the panel of international handicappers who announced the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings Tuesday.
The 3-year-old Montjeu colt, trained in France by Andre Fabre and bred by his former German-based owners Gestut Ammerland, achieved a rating of 130 after a year in which he also won the Irish Derby and came a fast-finishing second in the French equivalent, the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I).
Gerald Sauque, the top French handicapping official, commented: "Hurricane Run was the best horse last year and I believe he will be the best horse again in 2006."
Another Montjeu colt, Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Motivator, was the joint next highest-rated 3-year-old on a mark of 125, which he shared with Shamardal.
The 2004 champion Ghostzapper, who achieved a 130 rating that year, was the leading Northern Hemisphere older horse on a mark of 128. Stronach Stables' 5-year-old did not run after running out a brilliant 6 1/4 lengths winner of the grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 30.
"Ghostzapper made a majestic comeback in May but sadly didn't race again," said the British Horseracing Board's head of handicapping Nigel Gray in London, England. "But that performance was enough to earn him a 128 rating, making him both the highest-rated older horse and top-rated dirt horse."
Azamour and Westerner were next top-rated older horses on a mark of 126, with Saint Liam and Shirocco, both victorious on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships card at Belmont Park, on 125.
Gray added that 2005 was probably lacking a real star performer and continued: "In terms of the highest-rated horses, it's probably true to say we've got strength in depth rather than a lot outstanding horses."
None of the five British classic winners went on to win another race, with Virginia Waters (113) and Footstepsinthesand (116) among the lowest rated Guineas winners of recent years.
"I think that although the World Racing Series hasn't succeeded quite how some people hoped, it has provided opportunities for horses to stay in training and probably some of the early three-year-old races are not fulfilling the same roles they once had," said Gray.
Another Coolmore-owned horse, Danehill colt George Washington, was rated champion European 2-year-old on a mark of 124. The top-priced European yearling of 2004, when selling for 1.15 million guineas at the Tattersalls October Sale, George Washington was trained by Aidan O'Brien in Ireland to win four of his five starts and is ante-post favorite for this year's Stan James Thousand Guineas (Eng-I).
Bargain buy Sir Percy, a 16,000 guineas yearling purchase, was rated next best on a mark of 121 after a season that culminated in a group I Darley Dewhurst Stakes victory while group I Middle Park Stakes winner Amadeus Wolf and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Horatio Nelson were next best on a 120 rating