Celtic Swing's official rating sets juvenile turf record

Watching professional handicappers discuss juvenile ratings can have a slightly surreal quality. The numbers against each name are little more than educated guesswork, yet they are expected to quantify the merits of two-year-olds who will probabl y nevermeet on a track, and allow comparison with others long since retired. So it seems appropriate to report that the official answer to the question "how good is Celtic Swing?" is: a large bag of potatoes.

That - or 6lb, in prosaic handicapper-speak - is how far the Racing Post Trophy winner and ante-post Derby favourite is rated ahead of his generation in the International Classification, published yesterday.

When Kevin Darley pointed Celtic Swing down the long Doncaster straight in October, his instructions were to ride out all the way to the line to guarantee his mount's status as the champion two-year-old. He did just that, and more. So impressive was the resulting 12-length rout, in fact, that the official rating of 130 awarded to the Lady Herries-trained colt is the highest achieved by a juvenile on turf in the 17-year history of the Classification (Arazi achieved the same mark, but on US dirt).

This news is not, of itself, likely to spark impromptu parties in the country's betting shops - it will assume much greater significance when Celtic Swing's owner sets his stud fee - but the ratings do at least give punters a good reason to look forward to the spring. Last year's juveniles, it seems, were the best for several seasons, and 1995 may see a return to Classics which are worthy of the name.

Pennekamp, Andre Fabre's impressive Dewhurst Stakes winner, is assessed to be Celtic Swing's closest rival, on 124. Sri Pekan (122) and Green Perfume (121) are next on the list, and all four are judged superior to Grand Lodge, who headed the two-year-oldratings 12 months ago on 120. Overall, there was a five per cent increase in the number of juveniles rated 115 or higher.

This is good news for owners, breeders and the stubborn band of purists who insist that racing is about improving the breed, with betting an unfortunate side-effect. All that the figures can tell the rest of us, however, is that Celtic Swing is unusuallytalented which, of course, is something we already knew. Certainly, given that his legs have shown signs of weakness, there is no justification for an ante-post bet in the 2,000 Guineas at his current odds of 2-1.

As Ciaran Kennelly, the Irish Turf Club's senior handicapper, pointed out yesterday, it is very difficult to accurately assess wide-margin victories, particularly on soft ground, while the field for the Racing Post Trophy did not contain a solitary runner with a Group-race success. Even if fate spares him an injury, Celtic Swing's superiority last year may yet prove to be the result of precocious development which his peers will eventually match and surpass. Another statistic: only six of the top-rated two-year-olds of the last 17 years have managed to improve on their rating at three.

Grand Lodge, it turned out yesterday, was one of that half-dozen, rising 5lb to 125 during the course of last season, but the best of his generation over any distance was judged to be Balanchine, the Oaks and Irish Derby winner, with a mark of 130. Distant View (128) and Tikkanen (127) were close behind, with Erhaab, the Derby winner, only joint-fourth on 126 with Carnegie, who won the Arc, and King's Theatre (King George).

It is not an opinion with which most punters, were they so inclined, would disagree, but the international panel's verdict on the older horses might generate some debate between the afternoon's more important business at Nottingham and Taunton. In particular, many will find it hard to believe that Barathea (127), the Breeders' Cup Mile winner, is reckoned to be inferior to Maroof (128), and the scepticism is not solely due to the grievous wound the latter inflicted on the nation's backers by winning the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 66-1. Lochsong, meanwhile, is behind both, on 126.

Not, of course, that most punters care. But if Celtic Swing can maintain his dominance in his Classic season, his relative status among such champions as Dancing Brave and El Gran Senor may yet excite passion and debate throughout the sport.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week