World Class: Found in mix for top European horse award

Found earned an RPR of 124 when winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
World Class: Chrome still top of the world after stunning weekend
By Sam Walker 5:00PM 4 OCT 2016

CALIFORNIA CHROME maintained his place on top of the world standings after posting the knockout performance on a huge weekend of international racing.

The bargain-basement five-year-old matched his world-leading RPR of 133+ after easing to a facile success over Dortmund in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

It was his sixth win of the year and the fourth time in a row he has looked unstoppable, following wins in the Dubai World Cup, San Diego Handicap and Pacific Classic.

He was entitled to beat Dortmund as he did on Saturday, but it was still a jaw-dropping display as he set fast splits before cantering clear to score by a heavily eased two and a quarter lengths from the dual Grade 1 winner.

His consistency is remarkable and, as a four-time winner over 1m2f and a five-time winner around Santa Anita, conditions should be ideal as he bids for his seventh win of the campaign in the Breeders' Cup Classic next month.

Found improves again to land Arc

In Europe we don't have a California Chrome. In fact, as things stand, it would be hard to pick out an obvious candidate for the Cartier European Horse of the Year Award.

One candidate could be Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Found, who grabbed her first Group 1 win of the season on the back of runner-up spots in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Coronation Cup, Prince of Wales's Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes.

Her Arc success wasn't completely out of the blue as her RPRs had been gradually improving this season and she was rated just 1lb behind top-rated Postponed going into the race after running a career-best RPR of 122 at Leopardstown on her previous start.

She improved again at Chantilly, posting an RPR of 124 for her length-and-three-quarters success over stablemate Highland Reel (124), with Order Of St George (122) completing a one-two-three for Aidan O'Brien.

It was a momentous achievement for O'Brien, one he described as the greatest of his illustrious career, although the bare form of the race was not spectacular and this probably isn't the first time he has had three horses capable of beating fourth-placed Siljan's Saga (118).

Big guns fail to fire

The big achievement for O'Brien was in getting all of his horses to peak on a day when many of the leading contenders failed to fire. The most notable disappointment was the favourite Postponed, who had beaten the first and second earlier in the campaign.

The three-year-old generation also failed to turn up a star, with Savoir Vivre (113) their highest-placed finisher in eighth. Derby winner Harzand finished ninth with Makahiki 14th.

Found and Highland Reel could be set to win again before the end of the year. Found looks an obvious candidate to repeat last year's success in next month's Breeders' Cup Turf, while Highland Reel could land back-to-back runnings of the Hong Kong Vase in December.

Champion Stakes should be a thriller

The Cartier Horse of the Year award is unlikely to be won at Santa Anita or Sha Tin, but given how open things are it could be decided on British Champions Day at Ascot.

Three of the leading contenders for the Cartier Award – Almanzor, Found and Minding – are all short in the betting for the Ascot showpiece, which could be a winner-takes-all race to decide the European title.

Almanzor has the profile of a true champion, with two Group 1 wins in the kitty and a win over Found and Minding to his name already. He bypassed the Arc in order to run in the Champion Stakes and another win over the star fillies should see him crowned king of Europe.

Found, on the other hand, managed to improve at Chantilly and the short gap between races shouldn't be an issue for her as she contested the Arc, Champion Stakes and Breeders' Cup Turf last year, winning the latter. If she was able to get the better of Almanzor and land the Arc/Champion double she could grab the title.

Then there is Minding, who looks the best three-year-old of either sex in Europe and didn't get the run of the race when behind Almanzor and Found in the Irish Champion Stakes. If she can turn the form around, she could also become champion of Europe.

Limato dazzles

The best performance in Europe last week didn't actually come in the Arc. It came a little later on the card at Chantilly on Sunday when Limato (126) stamped his authority on the Prix de la Foret with a three-length success over Karar (117).

In Australia, Hartnell continued his fine start to the spring season with another career-best performance to land the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on Sunday.

A winning RPR of 121 makes the Godolphin five-year-old look nicely weighted for both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, although if he wins at Caulfield he will probably pick up a hefty penalty for the big one.

TOP LIST

Name (country trained)RaceRating
1California Chrome (US)Awesome Again/Pacific Classic133D
2A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d'Ispahan131T
Arrogate (US)Travers Stakes131D
4Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130D
5A.P. Indian (US)Forego Stakes126D
Almanzor (Fr)Irish Champion Stakes126T
Limato (GB)Prix de la Foret126T
Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126T
Winx (Aus)Doncaster Mile126T
10Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125T
Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125T
Mecca's Angel (GB)Nunthorpe Stakes125T

TURF

Name (country trained)RaceRating
1A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d'Ispahan131
2Almanzor (Fr)Irish Champion Stakes126
LimatoPrix de la Foret126
Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126
Winx (Aus)Doncaster Mile126
6Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125
Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125
Limato (GB)Darley July Cup125
Mecca's Angel (GB)Nunthorpe Stakes125
9Chautauqua (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
Found (Ire)Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe124
Galileo Gold (GB)St James's Palace Stakes124
Harzand (Ire)Derby124
Highland Reel (Ire)Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe124
Terravista (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
The Gurkha (Ire)Sussex Stakes124
Time Test (GB)Brigadier Gerard124

DIRT

Name (country trained)RaceRating
1California Chrome (US)Pacific Classic/Awesome Again133
2Arrogate (US)Travers Stakes131
3Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130
4A.P. IndianForego Stakes126
5Nyquist (US)Kentucky Derby124
Songbird (US)Cotillion124
7Dortmund (US)San Diego Handicap123
Exaggerator (US)Haskell Invitational123
9Effinex (US)Oaklawn Handicap122
10Taris (US)Humana Distaff121

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