Ahead of the publication of their flagship annual Racehorses of 2012 in March, Timeform have released their Global Rankings for 2012, confirming that Frankel is the highest-rated horse in their history on 147.
The Sir Henry Cecil-trained colt was awarded that rating following his breathtaking 11-length win in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot back in June, a success that cemented his status as the leading miler for the second year running. In addition, his later victories in the Juddmonte International and Champion Stakes proved that Frankel was equally as outstanding at ten furlongs.
Frankel's essay in Racehorses, in addition to providing a full review of another unbeaten campaign, when most of his rivals were again beaten "by a comfortable margin, like a chainsaw going through balsa wood", puts his overall achievements in an historical context ("the first horse since Abernant to be champion at two, three and four") by drawing comparisons with greats of the past whom he supplanted at the top of Timeform's all-time rankings.
Additionally, a comprehensive reasoning behind his 147 rating is provided, as well as a description of Timeform's handicapping methods more generally, "In the case of the Queen Anne, the calculations for 'race standardisation' and `prior-rating standardisation' both pointed to Frankel's performance being worth a Timeform rating in the mid-140s at least. Frankel's rating of 147 was not arrived at by assuming that the performance of one of the beaten horses could decide the entire level of the race. Indeed, the ratings for Frankel's Queen Anne Stakes do not have a single horse in the race running, conveniently or by chance, to its rating going into the race".
Frankel wasn't the only superstar of 2012, with Australia's unbeaten mare Black Caviar stretching her winning sequence to twenty-two, rounding off with a dramatic success at Royal Ascot. It was no surprise that she led the way in the sprint division once again in 2012 with a Timeform rating of 136, making her the joint highest-rated filly or mare (alongside Allez France and Habibti) aged three or above in Timeform's 64-year history. Her essay in Racehorses examines the transformation in the international reputation of Australasian horses over the past ten years or so, and the sprint division is one they have had particular success in. Indeed, it is noted that five of the top six ratings for sprinters in Timeform's Global Rankings for 2012 were for horses trained in Australia or originating from there.
Frankel and Black Caviar may have garnered the most headlines in 2012, but there were several other notable performers around. Cirrus des Aigles ran to a rating of 135 when beaten less than two lengths by Frankel in the Champion Stakes, becoming the leading horse in France for the second year running, though as a gelding he is barred from competing in the greatest race in his own country (the Arc), a rule Timeform take umbrage with in his essay, "The sooner geldings are allowed to contest all the top races open to entires, the better".
Frankel's old rival Excelebration (133) yet again made his presence felt in the top mile races that Frankel didn't contest in 2012, winning the QEII most notably, though even he had to settle for minor honours at the Breeders' Cup behind American miling sensation Wise Dan (134), whose essay in Racehorses charts his rise to the top, hailing the gelding as a "breath of fresh air" at a time when racing in America "had more than a few problems".
The leading juvenile rankings in 2012 were dominated by horses trained in the US, though the global leader in the division was the Irish colt Dawn Approach, whose unbeaten six-race campaign earned him a rating of 126p, the joint fourth-highest for a champion two-year-old this century, and the "p" symbol on his rating indicates the expectation of further improvement from him at three years. His closest rival was the US-trained Shanghai Bobby (123), who rounded off his unbeaten campaign at the Breeders' Cup, though the British juveniles were again a below-par bunch in 2012, with Reckless Abandon's rating of 117 making him the lowest British Champion juvenile since 1997.
TIMEFORM GLOBAL RANKINGS 2012 - OUT NOW! Ratings for the top horses around the world, essays on Frankel & Black Caviar, plus much, much more.