Is Golden Horn better than Frankel?

With Saturdays victory in the Coral-Eclipse still fresh in the mind, Golden Horn has now become the first horse since Frankel to be given a rating of 130 as a three-year-old. Rated 126 after his Epsom Derby success, his front running victory at Sandown was impressive enough for BHA Head of Handicapping Phil Smith to raise the John Gosden trained colt a further 4lbs.

Equaling the rating of the legendary Frankel as a three-year-old now has racing enthusiasts asking whether Golden Horn could be the next Frankel. There are certainly similarities between the two so far but to try to compare the two is an impossible task. Frankel remained unbeaten in his 14 starts, including nine consecutive Group 1 wins, winning over distances between 7f and 1m 2f. Golden Horn so far is unbeaten in his five starts including two Group 1 wins over distances between 1m and 1m 4f. Frankel simply blitzed his opponents in every race in outstanding fashion and will go down in history as one of the best race horses ever. Golden Horn has answered every question asked of him so far in style but to compare the two at this stage is incredibly difficult and with Golden Horn still racing, just one defeat may end the debate for good.

The one main stumbling block to Golden Horn aiming to match Frankel’s rating of 140 is that it is now highly likely that he will be retired to stud at the end of this season. Undefeated in his five career runs it would appear that Golden Horn may only have another two or three races in that career. Owner Anthony Oppenheimer runs a small-scale operation when compared to the likes of Godolphin and Ballydoyle and racing and breeding are of equal significance. The risk of running Golden Horn as a four-year old are twofold, with both physical and financial risk. Since 2000 only six Derby winners have continued to race as four-year olds, with only the Aidan O’Brien High Chaparral making any significant contribution to his over all career record. An unbeaten three-year old Golden Horn will have a number of owners willing to pay for their fillies to be covered and Oppenheimer is acutely aware of this.

Although unable to accurately compare Frankel and Golden Horn it will be interesting to see how Golden Horn performs for the remainder of the season. Future races will see him start to lose his weight for age allowance making his task harder but from the form he has shown in his previous races it is highly likely that he will take this in his stride and continue to be successful.

Whatever awaits Golden Horn this season, it is highly likely that he will retire as the highest ranked racehorse in the world in 2015 and will enjoy his retirement. Although no longer seen on the racecourse, his progeny will no doubt become ones to watch when they begin to appear in the years ahead.

Please Gamble Responsibly