The top five Australian horses of the 2022/23 season

25 JUNE 2023



With the last Group 1 of the 2022/23 season run and won on Saturday, which were the best five horses for the year?


2023/23 record: 9: 7-0-1

Major Wins: Winx Stakes, George Main Stakes, Might and Power Stakes, Cox Plate, Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes.

It’s hard to argue against Anamoe as the best horse across the 2022/23 season, with his six Group 1 wins including the Cox Plate, which cemented his champion of the era status. He fronted up nine times, and didn’t shy away from the raider Dubai Honour when it came time to square up with that dominant overseas challenger.

Anamoe’s versatility was a feature of his career, and on display again this season – he raced at Randwick, Rosehill, Caulfield, Moonee Valley and Flemington, winning at all but the latter, and won multiple races at all of 1400m, 1600m and a mile and a quarter.

For a horse with such a dominant record for the season, his average winning margin was an unusually low 0.8 of a length, which perhaps highlighted his will to win and ability to know where the line was. This is something that we associated with a horse like Verry Elleegant, but not necessarily Anamoe.

Winx, and before her Black Caviar, set impossible standards for what we deem a champion to be, and both Anamoe and Verry Elleegant suffered from being in their afterglow.

The Godolphin entire retires to a stallion career having won Group 1 races at the ages of two, three and four, but also having won at least once at the highest level in each campaign he had. There are very few that can claim both of those facts on their CV.
Anamoe wins the 2022 Cox Plate to cement his champion status.


2023/23 record: 7: 4-1-1

Major Wins: Golden Eagle, TJ Smith Stakes

I Wish I Win didn’t exactly come from nowhere this season, given it is worth remembering he was Group 1 placed behind Imperatriz in New Zealand in March 22. That was his last run over the ditch before being transferred into the hands of Peter Moody and going from strength to strength.

I Wish I Win turned heads early in the spring with a four length win over Gentleman Roy (who would subsequently go on to be Group 1 placed), following up with a Listed win at Sandown in a handy race, before appearing somewhat plain in the Toorak when fifth as near-on even money favourite.

From that point on, he has been one of the stars of the Australian racing scene, winning two of the richest races this country has to offer.

The Savabeel gelding finished his spring campaign with a terrific win in a strong Golden Eagle, pocketing over $5M for connections. Having dropped back to 1500m there, and perhaps not quite run a strong 1600m in the Toorak, the decision was taken to turn set him on a sprinting path in the autumn.

His first-up second in the Lightning Stakes over 1000m showed what was possible, when it was easy to see 1200m would be more in his wheelhouse. This was proven when running third in the Newmarket with 56.5kg’s after coming from last, and again in the TJ Smith when, again from last, he raced away from the best sprinters Australia has to offer.

The TJ Smith was arguably a stronger field than the Everest this year, and I Wish I Win did beat Everest winner Giga Kick fair-and-square in the TJ, hence rating him on top of the star three-year-old.

I Wish I Win blazes to victory in the TJ Smith.


2023/23 record: 8: 5-1-1

Major Wins: The Everest, All Aged Stakes, Doomben 10,000

It’s easy to forget now, given how sensational he has been since, that Giga Kick was sent out a 20-1 shot in the Everest, and that it was only the three-year-old’s fifth career start. At that point he was still unbeaten, and had won two Group races against his own age, including the Group 2 Danehill Stakes as odds-on favourite, so his talent was respected.

It was important for racing that Giga Kick’s Everest win wasn’t a fluke, and he proved that it wasn’t through the rest of the season. He had one more run in the spring, beaten 0.8 of a length in the VRC Classic when many good judges say he should have won with even luck.

In the autumn, Giga Kick returned in the Challenge Stakes and was the run of the race when third there, coming from back in the field on a day that was playing to those on the speed and closer to the rail. After that was his second to I Wish I Win in the TJ Smith, when he was excellent in his own right in such a hot race.

Despite a high quality career to that point, Giga Kick hadn’t actually won a Group 1 given The Everest doesn’t carry that status, but he took care of business in the All Aged Stakes and Doomben 10,000 to finish his season is fine style.

With Giga Kick and I Wish I Win both geldings, as is another rising star in Think About It, it’s mouth-watering to think of the clashes that should await us in the years ahead.

Giga Kick wins The Everest at just his fifth career start.


2023/23 record: 9: 3-1-0

Major wins: Underwood Stakes, Cantala Stakes, Futurity Stakes

Alligator Blood has certainly had a chequered history, both on the track and off, being treated with banned substances and his former managing owner being subject to controversial litigation. One thing that hasn’t been denied is the horse’s talent, winning the 2020 Australian Guineas as a three-year-old and returning after two and a half years in the wilderness to take out the 2022 Stradbroke Handicap.

He used the success in Queensland’s biggest race to catapult him into winning three Group 1s across the 2022/23 season.

Alligator Blood put the writing on the wall in the Makybe Diva Stakes, being nosed into second by the ill-fated I’m Thunderstruck, but he took his revenge in the Underwood next start with a strong performance over 1800m, despite there being doubts about him beyond a mile.

He raced competitively for top five finishes in the Caulfield Stakes and Cox Plate, but was ultimately unable to see out 2000m at the highest level. He proved his toughness however, by dropping back to 1600m after his Cox Plate run and taking out the Cantala at his sixth run for the spring.

Alligator Blood only had three runs in the autumn, winning the fifth Group 1 of his career first-up in the Futurity Stakes, before being beaten just over a length in the All Star Mile, and then failing to handle a heavy track in the Doncaster with 57.5kg’s.

As a gelding that hasn’t been overly taxed throughout his career, he should still have a couple of good seasons challenging in 1400m-1800m races, even though turning seven next season.
Alligator Blood won three Group 1s in 2022/23, including the Champions Mile.


2023/23 record: 10: 4-1-1

Major wins: All Star Mile, Doncaster Mile

Mr Brightside was one of the stories of the 2021/22 season, progressing through the grades with six wins in a row during the Melbourne spring, before eventually heading to Sydney in the autumn and winning the Doncaster Mile.

The questions coming into this season were whether he would be able to graduate to Group 1 WFA level, and could he extend himself to 2000m.

His season began promisingly with wins at Group 2 level in the Lawrence and Feehan, before stepping up and taking on the likes of Anamoe, Zaaki, I’m Thunderstruck and Alligator Blood over 1800m-2000m including the Cox Plate. While far from disgraced, he would prove to be 2-3 lengths off the best horses over that extra furlong or two.

The autumn saw Mr Brightside reset to be targeted at the two biggest 1600m races in Australia – the All Star Mile and Doncaster Mile. A horse that has made a career of continuing to improve, he did so again at the back end of his five-year-old season, to establish himself as the best miler in the country.

He won a brutally run All Star Mile, having run fourth the year before, after being given an inch-perfect ride by Luke Currie. He held off a fast-finishing Cascadian there, who himself is a three time Group 1 winner.

Mr Brightside was sent back to Sydney to defend his Doncaster crown, being asked to carry 5kg’s more than he had the year before, and did so in fine style. There is arguably no more adaptable or versatile horse in racing, and the point is made by winning two Doncaster’s on heavy ground, plus an All Star Mile on a Moonee Valley good, two tracks that couldn’t be more opposite.
Mr Brightside wins the All Star Mile, confirming his place as the best miler in the country.

Next in line

Other horses in contention were: Coolangatta due to winning two Group 1 races (Moir Stakes and Lightning Stakes) against the older horses as a three-year-old filly, In Secret as another filly to win two Group 1s (Coolmore Stud Stakes and Newmarket Handicap), Gold Trip as the Melbourne Cup winner to go with his Caulfield Cup second, Zaaki and I’m Thunderstruck as Group 1 winners that were continuously competitive at the highest level, and Jacquinot with his Golden Rose and Orr Stakes wins.

Gold Trip takes out the race that stops a nation in 2022.

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