Don Cossack beats Faugheen & Vautour for top jumps horse rating

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Don Cossack wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup from Djakadam
Don Cossack wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup from Djakadam

Don Cossack has been ranked the highest-rated horse in jump racing for the second year running.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, has an uncertain future after suffering a tendon injury.

Don Cossack has been allocated a rating of 177 in the annual Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications.

The Gold Cup winner was ranked just ahead of Cue Card, Faugheen and Vautour (all 176) with Sprinter Sacre on 175.

Faugheen is the highest rated hurdler since Istabraq 15 years ago, while Don Cossack's mark (up from 175 last year) puts him on a par with the likes of 2005 Cheltenham victor Kicking King and triple Gold Cup winner winner Best Mate.

Douvan won five Grade One races in just over four months - by an average distance of more than 12 lengths - but trails Sprinter Sacre in the two-mile chasing division on 169.

Analysis - BBC correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

"These ratings will encourage those around the hugely popular Sprinter Sacre, who emerged from a heart problem and what was looking increasingly like a sad obscurity, to win all of his four races and become 'story of the season'.

"When the future opposition of ever-rising star Douvan is mentioned, there tends to be gulps and shrugging of shoulders from 'Team Sprinter', but the handicappers still believe the younger horse has ground to make up.

"It could make for a thrilling rivalry, with the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December a likely starting point for the reigning champion."

3-mile-plus ChaserDon Cossack 177
2½-mile ChaserVautour173*
2-mile ChaserSprinter Sacre175
3-mile-plus Novice ChaserNo More Heroes/Rule The World159
2½-mile Novice ChaserArzal/Black Hercules159
2-mile Novice ChaserDouvan169
2½-mile-plus HurdlerThistlecrack174
2-mile HurdlerFaugheen176
2½-mile-plus Novice HurdlerYorkhill155
2-mile Novice HurdlerAltior160
(*Vautour was rated 176 in the three-mile category)

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