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17 Jan 23 16:47
Date Joined: 22 Mar 04
| Topic/replies: 10,481 | Blogger: cryoftruth's blog
A great horse but the equal of Frankel?

Timeform think not.

Timeform continue in this digital age to publish remarkable stuff, well written and with the emotion as well as the bare facts the sport of Horse Racing deserves as per this article.

Flightline, a $1m yearling, had looked very promising since the very start of his career, winning his first two starts by an aggregate of 26 lengths, but it was on his third start that he gave the impression he might be capable of something extraordinary when he won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on December 26 last year by eleven and a half lengths, earning a Timeform rating of 133p.

This performance saw him top the Timeform Global Rankings for 2021, ahead of St Mark’s Basilica (132), Adayar and Mishriff (both 131). Rather surprisingly, the World Thoroughbred Rankings were rather underwhelmed, having him rated only joint-tenth.
Timeform continue to use race standards (which can be read about in greater detail here) and it was those, alongside a seemingly very high speedfigure, which contributed to taking such a high view of the Malibu Stakes. It was much the same when he won the Pacific Classic by nineteen and a quarter lengths early in September and his brilliance began to gain wider recognition.
The Pacific Classic took Flightline into new territory and his victory there earned a rating of 143 – the highest that Timeform have ever awarded to a North American-trained horse since they began covering racing more extensively in that jurisdiction in the early 1990s. Again, it was race standards and a very fast overall time that gave credence to rating the race so highly.
That brings us on to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where his victory by eight and a quarter lengths is a record winning margin for the race and earned him a Timeform rating of 136. The bare form is rather held down by Olympiad and Taiba, very smart Grade 1 winners in their own right, but almost in a separate race having sat off the strong gallop set by the non-staying Life Is Good.

Running to very high ratings requires circumstances to allow the opportunity just as much as ability and the Pacific Classic was the one occasion where everything dropped right for Flightline to do so. While it’s no surprise that his career comes to an end after the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it does seem a shame that he will leave that wider public consciousness as quickly as he entered it after just six starts, with many people left questioning where he stands in the pecking order of equine greatness.
Timeform are happy to let others decide what constitutes true greatness and how important other attributes like versatility, consistency and longevity are alongside ability, but in terms of ratings, only Frankel (147), Sea-Bird (145), Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel (both 144) have ever been awarded higher end-of-year Timeform ratings.
As stated earlier, Timeform only began compiling US ratings in the 1990s, so it doesn’t have a published figure for Secretariat. In A Century of Champions, published by Timeform, but written by John Randall and Tony Morris, they rated Secretariat 144, Citation 142, Spectacular Bid and Seattle Slew 141 and Native Dancer and Affirmed 140 as the leading performers in America in the last century. US racing journalist Andy Beyer has been compiling speedfigures in America privately for over fifty years and publicly for over thirty and awarded Secretariat a retrospective rating of 139. His ratings are on a different scale to Timeform’s (and Randall and Morris) and, if translated to the Timeform scale, would put Secretariat on a figure in the low 150s.
As good as Flightline has looked and threatened to be, Big Red’s position at the top of the US tree seems safe for a while yet.
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Report Rowley Mile January 17, 2023 11:06 PM GMT
Very hard to say what is right?
He started off as a horse they knew had brilliance but they knew was fragile so had to balance it, I don’t think it was a soft approach, so many US horses don’t appreciate layoffs so those 3 races as a 4yo must still be respected.
Report brain dead jockeys January 18, 2023 5:04 AM GMT
only ran 6 times and was not retired because of injury.........they could at least have run him in that big race at gulfstream at end of january before the breeding season but they chickened out. he will never be the equal of the greats because of this. u cant be great when u only have run 6 times............
Report Rowley Mile January 18, 2023 10:54 AM GMT
They could have but a chance the only thing that’s prestigious about that race is the prizemoney, it has only been around about years and used to have a $1m entry or thereabouts. It, the dwc and the Saudi race are up there with the greedy moves.
I don’t think there’s better g1s for all ages he could’ve run in at 7f-10f and if you feel there is, he has probably beaten the winner of it a la life is good and obligatory. I think you could safely bet your house on him beating Cody’s wish over any distance, one turn or two also.

I mean look, the connections could’ve been ambitious and tested him and he could’ve rebelled? Constitution hill mightn’t be the horse he is today if he went to punchestown last spring to take on a mare most people would presume he’d beat a distance tomorrow
Report Rowley Mile January 18, 2023 10:55 AM GMT
*ten years
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