A look at the highest-rating two-year-olds to this point of the season
With Group 1 racing all but done and dusted for 2023, attention now turns towards the ever-evolving two-year-old picture.
The holy grail for that generation – the $5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper – might still be 3-1/2 months away, with the Blue Diamond four weeks before it, but the Magic Millions Carnival will be here before many realise.
The $2.5 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) is set for decision on the Gold Coast on January 13 – just five weeks from this Saturday.
Youngsters are therefore starting to emerge, whether they be Millions-eligible or not, and last weekend saw two horses announce themselves as potentially key players in the juvenile majors.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Storm Boy set the new Timeform benchmark for a colt when he went 107 in his 2-1/4-length win over Traffic Warden at Rosehill.
The $460,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling covered the 1100m of that event, which was run on a Soft 6 track, in 1:04.61.
The son of Justify claimed the colt's benchmark figure from a couple of his stablemates, Alabama Express colt Shangri La Express, who ran to 104 in his Golden Gift win, and Zoustar's Breeders' Plate winner Espionage.
Exceed And Excel filly Eneeza, a $1.1m Gold Coast buy, also ran to ran in her 2-1/4-length win over Flattered in the Listed Merson Cooper Stakes. That race was run on a Soft 5 with Eneeza covering the 1000m in 58.59secs.
The Merson Cooper has proven a hit pre-Christmas form reference in recent years and Eneeza's rating compares favourably with some other high-profile winners.
Little Brose won last year's Merson Cooper in 106 before going on to win the Blue Diamond, while Anamoe (103) and Hanseatic (105) are other Merson Cooper winners who had an impact in the Blue Diamond.
Eneeza's mark is the highest winning Timeform figure recorded by a filly in the Merson Cooper Stakes since Corsaire went 110 in 2008.
The only filly who has run a higher mark than Eneeza to this point of the season is Bold Bastille, a daughter of Brazen Beau, who went 105 when winning the Inglis Banner (1000m) at The Valley on Cox Plate Day.
HIGHEST-RATING 2YOs OF 2023/2024
107: Storm Boy
105: Bold Bastille
104: Espionage, Shangri La Express, Eneeza
103: Manaal, Straight Charge
102+: Dublin Down
102: Celestial Bling
A more extensive list of the season's highest-rating two-year-olds to date, along with all other age groups, are available at the Ratings & Analysis page at Racing and Sports.