An authoritative victory in last season’s Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes was enough for St Mark’s Basilica to be named champion two-year-old in Europe, the British Horseracing Authority and Horse Racing Ireland revealed on Wednesday.
The son of Siyouni, a half-brother to QIPCO 2,000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia, achieved a rating of 120 when winning the 7f event on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and becomes the eleventh champion juvenile to be trained by Aidan O’Brien.
St Mark’s Basilica defeated stablemate Wembley that day and the runner-up was named joint-second in the classifications alongside the Clive Cox-trained Middle Park Stakes winner Supremacy on a mark of 118.
Mark Bird, IHRB Handicapper, said: “St Mark’s Basilca is the latest in a long line of European two-year-old champions, dating back to Fasliyev in 1999, to emerge from the Aidan O’Brien academy.
“We rated his effort in landing the Darley Dewhurst Stakes as marginally the best form shown by a European two-year-old in 2020 and just ahead of that shown by the 12 other Group 1-winning two-year-olds in Europe this year.
“At this stage of his career, he rates higher than his half-brother Magna Grecia, who won the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas as a three-year-old and he appears to hold every chance of emulating his sibling in winning that event in 2021, with normal progression as aa three-year-old.”
On Supremacy being the highest-rated British juvenile, BHA Handicapper Graeme Smith added: “Supremacy became the latest in a long line of Group 1-winning sprinters to emerge from Clive Cox’s stable over the last decade and achieved a rating of 118 when defeating the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Lucky Vega in a deep looking Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes.
“Very well bought for £65,000, he was the standout British-trained juvenile from Goodwood onwards and went into winter quarters as the highest-rated two-year-old his prolific trainer has ever handled.”
Sealiway’s performance in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, where he beat Nando Parrado by eight lengths, earned the son of Galiway the distinction of being named as France’s highest-rated juvenile in 2020 on a mark of 116.
There was a three-way tie for top two-year-old filly in 2020 with the classifications headed by Fillies’ Mile heroine Pretty Gorgeous, trained by Joseph O’Brien, Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Shale, trained by Joseph’s brother Donnacha, and Prix Morny scorer Campanelle, who is trained by Wesley Ward.
Bird concluded: “In summary, 2020 could not be said to have been a vintage year for two-year-olds. While numerically, the 44 horses that made the Classifications are in line with recent averages, the truncated nature of the season and the slightly muddled nature of some of the form lines mean that the Champion juveniles of the year rank at the lower end of the historical scale.”