Another racing year is the books—and what a banner year it has been for the world’s fillies and mares when it comes to the most prestigious races! Worldwide in 2016, 38 open-company Grade 1 or Group 1 races were won by fillies or mares—two more than in 2015. And in several important instances, these game competitors returned to record repeat victories from 2015.The year began with an impressive win by the South African filly Smart Call in the SAF-G1 J&B Met where she handily defeated subsequent South African Horse of the Year Legal Eagle:
It ended on Boxing Day in New Zealand, with 41-1 longshot Consensus giving 22-year-old jockey Alysha Collett her first Group 1 win in the Zabeel Classic.
For North American horses, it was a particularly good year. Trainer Wesley Ward successfully raided Royal Ascot with juvenile filly Lady Aurelia who also found Group 1 triumph in France, winning the open-company Prix Morny in impressive wire-in-wire fashion:
Mark Casse-trained Tepin, 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile champion, continued her winning ways, reeling off six straight victories in 2016 including the ENG-G1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile:
Miss Temple City was unsuccessful in her Royal Ascot return, but subsequently found the winner’s circle again against males in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile:
Exciting 3-year-old filly Minding won five Group 1 events for trainer Aidan O’Brien in 2016, culminating with an open-company victory in the ENG-G1 Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot in October:
As for repeat winners, it's hard to top another O'Brien trainee, 4-year-old Found who again captured one of the world's most important races, the FR-G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe:
Irish-bred world traveler Nightflower repeated as winner the Group 1 Preis von Europa in Germany:
Down Under, Jameka impressed mightily in the prestigious AUS-G1 Caulfield Cup:
All things considered, the title of world’s greatest racing mare of 2016 has to go to the Australian champion Winx who went undefeated in eight starts this year, six at the Group 1 level. Dating back to May 2015, this now 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry has reeled off 13 consecutive victories, all but one against open company. Her 2015 campaign culminated in an impressive win in the prestigious Cox Plate. Her 2016 campaign included wins in the Chipping Norton and George Ryder, just three weeks apart:
A mere two weeks later, she survived a massive traffic jam to win the Doncaster by a clear two lengths:
After a more than four-month break, Winx roared back into action with four more victories, culminating in an absolutely devastating performance in repeating her 2015 triumph in the prestigious Cox Plate:
Here's hoping for a safe and productive 2017 for all creatures, horse and human. Happy New Year!