I’m of the belief that the current crop of sprinters in Australia are not in the same league as those of earlier eras. In fact, the Everest is one race in particular that has seen a drop in quality over the last two years.
Certainly, the prize money on offer is completely disparate to the ability on display. My ratings below represent points, where every point is equivalent to half a length. The best sprinter in my database is of course the great mare:
PEAK RATING: 130 (achieved twice)
COMMENT: A lot of BLACK CAVIAR’S career figures were below her 130 peak, but that is simply because she only did what was required to achieve victory against lesser opposition. She spent a lot of her ratings in the 122 – 124 mark, which is still exceptional as you’ll see in comparison. However, she twice did 130, in her electrifying Newmarket Handicap win of 2011, with 58 kgs and setting a race record on a dead track, and two starts later at Randwick in the TJ Smith.
PEAK RATING: 122 (achieved four times)
COMMENT: I feel for HAY LIST, having to race in the shadow of the great mare BLACK CAVIAR. Had he raced in another time he would have been probably the best sprinter in the world, however he had to play second fiddle to her. Still, when he got his chance he was a high rater, as he showed rating 122 on four separate occasions, and also 119 to 121 many more times again. He had at least 12 ratings performances that would have won last year’s Everest, had he been in it.
PEAK RATING: 121 (achieved four times in Aus)
COMMENT: An incredibly consistent galloper, TAKEOVER TARGET achieved 121 four times, and I have no doubt his win in Japan (and probably his other overseas wins) would have rated similarly. When he wasn’t doing 121 he was doing 116+ almost all the time. Wonderfully consistent, high rating sprinter.
They are the best three sprinters of recent times. Now let’s take a look at the key Australian hopes in the Everest this year:
PEAK RATING: 116 (achieved seven times)
COMMENT: An incredibly consistent galloper, REDZEL has done a 116 on seven occasions so far, and he has done 115 on several other occasions too. This is how he has managed to amass such an outstanding record, by being very consistent at his level. However, that puts him several points behind the horses listed above.
PEAK RATING: 119 (achieved once)
COMMENT: VEGA MAGIC has a decent peak figure in 119, but has only done that once, though he also has one 118 rating and one 117. These are very good figures but unlike REDZEL he struggles with consistency. Again, his absolute best figure still puts him 4 points (or two lengths) behind HAY LIST, for example… and it puts him 11 points or 5L behind BLACK CAVIAR.
Santa Ana Lane
PEAK RATING: 117 (achieved once)
COMMENT: The most improved galloper in the field, SAL did 117 at his most recent start. Prior to that he had one 116 figure, and a next best of 112. He keeps improving but at 117 he is well off the sprinters of prior eras.
PEAK RATING: 117 (achieved once)
COMMENT: An enigmatic galloper who at his best looks like a champion, but does not always perform at his best. Unlike HAY LIST and TAKEOVER TARGET, who were both incredibly consistent at or near their peak, TRAPEZE ARTIST seems to only have about one peak in him per prep. At 117 that is, again, off the horses of earlier eras.
The other horses in the race have peaks that are inferior to those listed. The ratings clearly show that not only was the great BLACK CAVIAR many lengths superior to these sprinters, but that both TAKEOVER TARGET and HAY LIST, the next best sprinters of recent times, were also lengths superior.