Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard has been crowned the leading Jumps horse in Britain and Ireland, according to this year’s Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications.
The Henry De Bromhead-trained eight-year-old earned a mark of 180 with a devastating display in the Cheltenham showpiece under Rachael Blackmore, going one better than he managed in the 2021 renewal.
Fellow Cheveley Park Stud horse Allaho – an emphatic winner of the Ryanair Chase and Punchestown Gold Cup – was given a mark of 177, 3lb lower than the Gold Cup winner.
Another Willie Mullins-trained runner, Energumene, was handed a mark of 176 alongside Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin, after the two traded blows in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and again in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Martin Greenwood, BHA Steeplechase Handicap Team Leader, said: “While there was plenty to enjoy during the 2021/22 Jumps season, A Plus Tard stands out as clearly the best we saw this term.
“With the Irish dominance continuing, only Shishkin and the evergreen Clan Des Obeaux kept the British flag flying at the top end of the classification and are the only two to be rated in the 170s.
“The former blotted his copybook at Cheltenham after a seemingly landmark Ascot win, while the latter won at Aintree for the second year running and followed up with a respectable second at Punchestown.
Constitution Hill handed record novice mark
One of the more interesting ratings has been handed to Constitution Hill, who earned a mark of 170 for his stunning display in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, a record for a novice hurdler.
That is 5lb ahead of Champion Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle, who was awarded a figure of 165, giving her a slight edge at this stage thanks to her 7lbs mare’s allowance.
Andrew Mealor, BHA Hurdles Team Leader, said: “Honeysuckle earned her place in the history books by becoming the first dual Champion Hurdle-winning mare, establishing herself as a modern-day great.
“Still unbeaten after 16 starts, it is difficult to get a handle on her true figure as even when she has looked vulnerable in some of those races, has always managed to find that extra gear, the hallmark of a champion.
“She will have a fight on her hands next season when attempting a Champion Hurdle hat‐trick with the emergence of Constitution Hill, who although boasting the higher rating, still ranks second to Honeysuckle when the 7lb mares’ allowance is taken into account.”
Star novice chaser Galopin Des Champs was given a mark of 172, having looked set to win with plenty in hand at Cheltenham before falling at the final fence, but made up for that with victory in the Boylesports Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.
Shay Quinn, IHRB National Hunt Handicapper, added: “He is undoubtedly an exceptional novice and is highest-rated since Gold Cup-winning novice, Coneygree.
“He jumps like a stag and has the perfect blend of speed and stamina. This rangy six‐year‐old can only improve on his rating and has the potential to go all the way to the top.”