For a horse who has only run twice in Australia and hasn’t won in more than 15 months, Top Ranked was one of the most talked about horses during the autumn.
Trained by Annabel Neasham, Top Ranked was spruiked as a leading All-Star Mile contender but didn’t make the $5 million event.
“After he ran a close-up fifth in the Chipping Norton Stakes, Hugh Bowman got off him and said that he didn’t feel right over the final 200 metres,” Australian Bloodstock’s co-director Jamie Lovett said.
Racing NSW vets classified Top Ranked as three out of five lame in his near foreleg following the $600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on February 26.
Top Ranked then travelled to Melbourne and spent time at Altona beach recuperating after that race, in anticipation of making The All-Star Mile field, but failed to gain a wildcard entry.
“He had a little ligament strain, and we gave him six weeks off to recover. Vets rescanned the area after and he was fine,” Lovett said.
“It meant that we missed the rest of the autumn but he’s in a real good place now. Annabel (Neasham) rang me the other day with an update, he’s sound as a bell and moving beautifully.”
Lovett says no decision has been made on Top Ranked’s spring preparation but he anticipates it will commence in Sydney, while Neasham told Racing.com in March that the Cox Plate could be on Top Ranked’s agenda.
“I would say that it would be a short campaign in Sydney and then if he went well that we’d come down for one of the better races in Melbourne. It will all depends on where he fits in, he’s still got to do it,” Lovett said.
Top Ranked has raced 14 times for six wins and four placings. His first dozen starts were in Britain for James Tate and included two wins at Stakes level – the G3 Superior Mile Stakes at Haydock in September 2020 and his most one in the Listed Doncaster Mile Stakes in March 2021.
The grey entire was purchased by Australian Bloodstock following his fourth in the G2 Summer Mile at Ascot in July 2021 and he finished an eye-catching third in the $1 million The Hunter (1300m) behind Lost And Running last November prior to his Chipping Norton defeat.