Greatest Racehorses

Most wins in major National Hunt races:

Champion Hurdle – The most prestigious hurdles race, run over 2 miles at Cheltenham

(3 wins)

Hatton’s Grace – 1949, 1950, 1951
Sir Ken – 1952, 1953, 1954
Persian War – 1968, 1969, 1970
See You Then – 1985, 1986, 1987
Istabraq – 1998, 1999, 2000

Queen Mother Champion Chase – run over 2 miles at Cheltenham (3 wins – Badsworth Boy 1983-1985)

World (Stayers) Hurdle – at Cheltenham over 3 miles (4 wins – Big Buck’s 2009-2012, 3 wins Inglis Drever 2005,2007-8)

Cheltenham Gold Cup – The most prestigious Steeplechase in Britain run at Cheltenham over 3 miles 2 furlongs.  (5 wins Golden Miller 1932-36, 3 wins Cottage Rake 1948-50, Arkle 1964-66,  Best Mate 2002-2004)

The King George VI Chase – usually run on Boxing Day at Kempton Park over 3 miles. The most important mid-season steeplechase. (5 wins Kauto Star 2006-9,2011:  4 wins Desert Orchid 1986,1988-90:  3 wins Wayward Lad 1982,83,85)

The Grand National – run over 4 1/2 miles at Aintree. The most famous Steeplechase in Britain. (3 wins Red Rum 1973,74,77).



Timeform is regarded as the most authoritative guide to racehorses in Great Britain. It rates all active racehorses to give a comparison of their standard. The ratings below are the highest achieved since 1948 for Flat Racing and the early 1960s for National Hunt (Jumps) races. The ratings represent the highest level achieved by a horse over a career but don’t reflect the longevity of a career. A horse achieving a higher rating may not necessarily be the better horse in terms of achievements.

The following are Timeform’s Greatest Racehorses:

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Flat)
145 Sea Bird II
144 Brigadier Gerard, Tudor Minstrel
143 Frankel
142 Abernant, Ribot, Windy City
141 Mill Reef
140 Dancing Brave, Dubai Millennium, Sea The Stars, Shergar, Vaguely Noble

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps – Hurdlers)
182 Night Nurse
180 Istabraq, Monksfield
179 Persian War
178 Comedy of Errors, Le Sauvignon
177 Lanzarote, Limestone Lad
176 Bird’s Nest, Bula, Golden Cygnet
175 Baracouda, Gaye Brief, Salmon Spray, Sea Pigeon

Highest Timeform Annual Ratings (Jumps – Chasers)
212 Arkle
210 Flyingbolt
191 Kauto Star, Mill House
187 Desert Orchid
186 Dunkirk
184 Burrough Hill Lad, Moscow Flyer, Long Run
183 Denman, Master Oats
182 Azertyuiop, Best Mate, Captain Christy, Carvill’s Hill, Kicking King, See More Business, Well Chief

Personally I have my doubts over the ratings of the Chasers in the early 1960s. The ratings were just coming in then and I think there has to be uncertainty over the level they were set. It may well be that Arkle and Flyingbolt were the two best Chasers in history but to have them so far ahead of anything else in the forty years since seems unbelievable to me.


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