Led by Charlatan, American Thoroughbreds took three of the top eight spots, but it was Ireland’s Mishriff who seized the top spot in the 2021 first edition of Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.

Mishriff No. 1 ranked horse
This tongue-wagging victory at 17/1 in February’s Saudi Cup vaulted Mishriff to the No. 1 spot in the first 2021 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. (Image: Douglas DeFelice/Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia)

The John Gosden-trained 4-year-old earned a 122 rating from the racing officials and handicappers compiling the rankings under the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). Those Longines rankings come from performances in elite-level races against top competition.

Longines releases the rankings periodically throughout the year, based on performances over a given period. These rankings incorporate races between Jan. 1 and March 7, 2021.

That timeframe, of course, encompasses the Feb. 20 Saudi Cup, which, in turn, puts Mishriff’s victory in the $20 million Group 1 race front-and-center. Mishriff’s one-length victory over Charlatan earned the Great Britain-trained colt his 122 ranking and spot atop the table. Last year, Mishriff won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at ParisLongchamp.

Charlatan the No. 1 US horse in Longines rankings

As the top-ranked American horse, Charlatan shares the No. 3 spot with Hong Kong-based geldings Exultant and Golden Sixty. The trio checks in with 120 points.

Charlatan’s only race this year produced a Saudi Cup runner-up finish.

Golden Sixty owns a 13-race winning streak, burnished by two Group 1 wins in as many months. The first came at the Stewards’ Cup over Southern Legend (118 ranking) and Ka Ying Star (117). The second came over Exultant and Furore in February’s Hong Kong Gold Cup.

In between Mishriff and that trio in the Longines rankings, sitting alone in second at 121, is multiple Group 1 champion Nature Strip. The Australian gelding won Australia’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning in February in his lone outing.

Knicks Go and Life Is Good make top-10 cases

Two American horses sit behind that trio in a three-way tie for sixth: Knicks Go and Life Is Good. Knicks Go won the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup in January, then finished fourth in the Saudi Cup. Life Is Good captured the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in January, then dismantled a good San Felipe Stakes field by eight lengths last weekend. The Into Mischief colt is the top-ranked 3-year-old in the rankings.

Knicks Go and Life Is Good share a 119 ranking with South African gelding Rainbow Bridge. He ran his way onto the rankings by winning the Cape Town Met by 1 ¾ lengths in January.

The only other American product in the top-12 is Essential Quality, who sits in an eight-way tie for 12th with a 117 rating. His berth comes courtesy of his dominant victory in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes on Feb. 27.