Postponed is being mentioned in discussions about the best horse in the world but it is the champion European juvenile from 2013 who could take centre stage at Goodwood on Saturday. The Celebration Mile is the main feature of a fairly ordinary day of racing but Toormore has the past form to beat horses that have run to a higher level this season based on official ratings. Ryan Moore returns at Newmarket after an injury absence that was shorter than expected and his odds have been cut for the jockey’s championship.
The Juddmonte International at York is one of the best races in the world based on the ratings of its participants. Postponed was impressive in winning this year’s renewal last week and is now the clear favourite for the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe in October. It is impossible to compare the merits of horses running in different conditions around the world and there will never be a definitive answer but Postponed could claim to be the leading thoroughbred in the global sport. California Chrome is still in training and that horse could also claim to be the best on the planet. The Breeder’s Cup in November could help to decide the outcome of this issue.
The Arc is the championship Flat race in Europe and brings together the best horses of any age group except two-year-olds at Longchamp near Paris. This year the race will take place at Chantilly as work is being undertaken at the French capital track. The race will be run over one mile four furlongs as usual but there is no false straight at Chantilly but on ratings Postponed should win regardless of the track. The winners of the Derby, Oaks and Ascot Gold Cup are prominent in the betting but beatable. Harzaand, Minding and Order Of St George could be running for second place.
Arc weekend at the beginning of October begins a three week spell of championship races at Newmarket and British Champion’s Day at Ascot. The clash between Caravaggio and the other best younger horses will define the champion two-year-old of the season, a title given to Toormore three years ago. That potential has not been fully realised but an impressive win at Goodwood could see the horse get an unfulfilled career back on track. Maybe the horse is at a level somewhere between Group 1 and Group 2 and Saturday’s effort should reveal a great deal in this context.
In January 2014 official ratings made Toormore the champion two-year-old in Europe. The horse was rated two pounds ahead of Kingston Hill who was placed in the Derby and then won the St Leger during his Classic season. Toormore did not run in the Dewhurst Stakes but he had beaten War Command who won the race earlier in the season. Toormore was sixth in the 2,000 Guineas and then ran poorly at Royal Ascot during his three-year-old season. He has run in the highest class this year without success but there have been promising signs of a revival.
Toormore won the Bet365 Mile in April but has struggled in Group 1 contests over the rest of the season. He was fourth in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood showing a standard of ability which suggests competiveness at the level of Saturday’s race. The horse is trained by Richard Hannon who left it to his assistant to make this comment in Friday’s Racing Post:
“Toormore has been on the edge in Group 1s for a long time and ran a great race behind some top three-year-olds in the Sussex. He’s in good form and he’s always been well suited to Goodwood, so we’re going with a live chance” Toormore could well be a Group 2 horse who was flattered by his rating as a juvenile but if he struggles at this level the horse may be retired rather than face the indignity of running in Group 3 and Listed contests.
With only five runners at most place terms are one quarter the odds for two places but it will be win only if one horse is withdrawn. Thikriyaat has been supplemented and is the ante post favourite for the Celebration Mile. The course and distance winner is unproven at Group 2 level and Wonderland could be the horse for the forecast in a race won by Toormore.