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By Nicholas Godfrey, Thoroughbred Racing Commentary — Electrifying Equinox is the new top rated horse in the world after dazzling display in Dubai.

The four-year-old becomes the fourth Japanese-trained horse to reach #1, having catapulted himself to the top spot via his brilliant victory over Irish Derby winner Westover in the $6 million contest, the undoubted highlight of the Dubai World Cup undercard.

Japan’s reigning Horse of the Year, Equinox was completing a G1 hat-trick with his Sheema Classic triumph. Runner-up in a pair of Japanese Classics in 2022, he ended the world’s highest-ranked three-year-old last year after convincing victories in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and the Arima Kinen, Japan’s end-of-season grand prix event.

Meydan, however, was different level as Equinox made all in track-record time under Christophe Lemaire for a totally dominant success over a top-class international field on his first run outside Japan. Although the winning margin was 3½ lengths, he looked as if he could have won by more if he had been asked.

The son of Japan Cup winner Kitasan Black earned a 276pt boost on TRC Rankings – enough for him to move to #1 (from #7) and thereby become the 23rd individual horse to top the rankings since we started compiling racehorse rankings in 2014. His current portfolio is worth 2086 points, putting Equinox nicely clear of Anamoe (2039pt) and Golden Sixty (1983pt).

“I knew he was the best horse and so I was happy to make the pace,” commented five-time JRA champion Lemaire.

“Race after race, he’s going up the rankings of the horses I have ridden,” added the current world #7 jockey. “It was a great, great performance against these kind of horses at the top level. I couldn’t be happier.”

Winning trainer Tetsuya Kimura (#24 from #30) said: “It was a tough field with some very strong horses but he’s a champion and he was just the best. He got the job done and made it all look so simple. I am very happy with this performance.”

After such a stunning display, thoughts immediately turned to where Equinox is likely to run in the future and he was made favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. However, given the likelihood of unfavourably testing ground in Paris, Kimura had indicated before Saturday’s race that the Breeders’ Cup Turf was a more likely target for any proposed overseas mission – and major targets at home such as the Tenno Sho (Autumn) and Japan Cup are likely to figure high in calculations.

Alongside his own brilliance, another factor has enabled Equinox to claim top spot since the retired Breeders’ Cup hero Flightline has now vacated the #1 position, having reached the automatic ‘cutoff’ period after which names are removed automatically.

Indeed, regular rankings watchers may note several significant movers this week, as we have amended that period to 120 days so in future any horse (or, for that matter, trainer or jockey) who has not appeared for the timespan will automatically forfeit their position. This used to be 150 days.

Partly as a result of this new method, Equinox was by no means the only significant mover in this week’s rankings. His compatriot Titleholder (+170pt, #4 from #30) leaps into the Top 5 after returning to form with an eight-length drubbing of his rivals in the G2 Nikkei Sho on soft ground at Nakayama.

The front-running five-year-old has taken high rank in the past but disappointing efforts in the Arc and Arima Kinen had seen his status diminish towards the end of 2022.

Other notable movers at Meydan were headed by Lord North (+156pt, #16 from #60), who completed a hat-trick in the Dubai Turf under Frankie Dettori (stays at #8), while Japan’s Dubai World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro (+184pt, #30 from #140) continues his rise after taking his record on dirt to six-from-seven with a come-from-behind victory as the pace largely fell apart in the $12m feature.

World Cup runner-up Algiers (+55pt, #36 from #69) emerges with great credit, too, given how the race shaped up.

Big winners elsewhere on the racing planet included West Will Power (+253pt, #17 from #137), easy winner over Pegasus World Cup hero Art Collector in the G2 New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds.

Leading NZ mare Prowess (+240pt, #34 from #229) took her Australian debut with aplomb when landing the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill in Sydney.

*Racehorse rankings can be compared to similar exercises in other sports, like the golf’s world rankings or the ATP rankings in tennis.

They are formulated from the last three years of races we consider Group or Graded class all over the world and update automatically each week according to the quality of a horse’s performances and their recency, taking into account how races work out.

Equinox is the 23rd horse to lead the rankings under our revised system and the fourth Japanese-trained horse. Of them, Almond Eye (2308pts at her zenith) was #1 for the longest spell of 36 weeks. The highest-scoring horse under our system, which began ranking horses in 2014, is Winx (2694pts).

TRC Global Rankings constantly update the coefficients placed on races in each country to explain past results the best – without overfitting – and predict future ones most accurately while using only the placings and distances between runners in each race. This means that our assessment of past events is fluid, and we will occasionally revise past rankings in light of improved methodology. Our research is ongoing

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