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Edited Press Release — Little Big Bear has been crowned Europe’s champion juvenile for 2022, achieving an official rating of 124 for his impressive demolition of the field in the G1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last August.

The colt becomes the 12th champion two-year-old to be trained by Aidan O’Brien, and the first son of No Nay Never to achieve the distinction.

In the Phoenix, Little Big Bear thrashed July Stakes winner Persian Force by seven lengths. After being touched off on his debut, the colt won his remaining four starts, also scoring at Royal Ascot and winning the G3 Anglesey Stakes before his championship display.

Just champion: Little Big Bear and Ryan Moore. Photo: Pat Healy /

Just champion: Little Big Bear and Ryan Moore. Photo: Pat Healy /

Ireland’s official handicapper Mark Bird said: “His dominant performances in taking the Anglesey Stakes and the Phoenix Stakes propelled him clear of his rivals in the race to be Europe’s top two-year-old from an early stage of the season and whetted the appetite for what promises to be an exciting three-year-old career.”

Not for the first time, O’Brien made a significant impact on the upper echelons of the rankings, which are based on official ratings formulated by the various European racing authorities.

It should be noted that these ratings refer only to individual performances – unlike Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s Global Rankings, which cover a body of work.

On these official European-only juvenile ratings, 2000 Guineas favourite Little Big Bear is rated 5lb clear of stablemate Blackbeard (119), who in turn finds himself a pound ahead of Derby favourite August Rodin. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Victoria Road also features in the top ten with a mark of 115.

Sharing runner-up honours with the now-retired Blackbeard is Dewhurst winner Chaldean, who becomes the highest-rated British-trained juvenile of 2022. Trained by Andrew Balding, the son of Frankel has won four of five starts.

“He improved with each of his five starts at two and proved really straightforward in doing so,” said BHA (British Horseracing Authority) handicapping team leader Graeme Smith.

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