The first rule of International Business is to ‘Think Global, Act Local’. Australia is often acknowledged with having the best sprinters in world racing. That may ring true, however it is quite evident that there are more strings to the bow for this unique racing jurisdiction, and the recognition in recent times in undeniable.
As of this week, the Longines World’s Best Jockeys have 4 Australians in the top 5; ‘The Horsman’ Hugh Bowman, ‘Mr. International’ Zac Purton, ‘The Polariser’ Craig Williams and ‘The Package’ Blake Shinn (Ryan Moore is currently ranked at number 3). And that group could easily have the likes of Kerrin McEvoy and James ‘Russell Crowe’ McDonald who, due to being a superstar, we now claim as one of our own.
Australian jockeys compete in one of the fiercest environments on the world stage. 7 days (and some nights!) a week racing, tight-tuning tracks, a deep pool of established and emerging talent and start-stop-go style of tempo that requires great skill. Even the number 6 on the Longines Best Jockey list, a phenomenal record breaker and freak, Joao ‘Magic Man’ Moreira can’t just come to Australia and dominate. In fact the Magic Man has only ridden 1 winner in his past 50 Australian rides. And for the trivia buffs, ‘Who was the last jockey to be defeated on Winx?’….it was Joao, in the ATC Oaks.
Speaking of Winx, it was officially recognised by the Longines Worlds Best Racehorse rankings that she is the number 1 horse in the world with a rating of 130, slightly ahead of US Champ,
Gun Runner at 129. Everyone’s favourite Happy Clapper comes in at a very respectable 7th place on 123.
Australia has the privilege of being able to access the best bloodlines in the world. What we might lose in attracting international competition on a more regular basis due to our tucked away location, we make up for with being able to import stallions to breed in Australia during the southern hemisphere breeding season. Our greatest import Danehill originally competed in Europe, and the sire of our greatest horse Winx, Street Cry raced in the USA and Dubai (where he won the World Cup) before standing at stud in Kentucky and shuttling his way to Darley Stud in the Hunter Valley.
It’s also great to see Australian trainers competing on the world stage. Leading Hong Kong trainer John Size is often forgotten about in these conversations, but he was recently inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame, and is a much deserved inclusion having won 9 Hong Kong trainers titles. David Hayes along with Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes is another training outfit about to head abroad, with Redkirk Warrior set to compete at the famous Royal Ascot carnival (June 19-23). Here’s a horse that had his first start in England over 2000m, and ended up winning a trio of Group One races in Australia over 1000m and 1200m. A win at Royal Ascot would cap of this horse’s incredible journey and bring it full circle.