YORK Racecourse hosted the best race in the world last year, according to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.

The 2020 edition of the Juddmonte International - York’s flagship race and the feature of the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival - was crowned the 2020 Longines World’s Best Race ahead of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Japan Cup.

This accolade comes hot on the heels of York being voted the Racecourse of the Year by both the Racehorse Owners Association (joint with Chester) and The Racegoers Club after Knavesmire’s last full season.

To earn this world number one status, the provisional ratings of the first four horses past the Knavesmire winning post were assessed by the international panel of handicappers who comprise the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings Committee.

The committee concluded that star horses Ghaiyyath, Magical, Lord North and Kameko combined to provide the strongest race on the planet. Between them, these four thoroughbreds have landed 14 races globally at the highest level.

The Juddmonte International has benefited from investment and support for more than three decades by Juddmonte and its founder, the late Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. It is a poignant tribute that this announcement comes in the month that saw the passing of the man who contributed so much to the racing and bloodstock world.

York Racecourse chairman Bridget Guerin said: “York is particularly grateful to the late Prince Khalid and Juddmonte whose support for over 30 years meant another world-class field assembled on Knavesmire in 2020.

“I am delighted that the ratings have now confirmed what we felt at the time - that the Juddmonte International is the best race in the world.”

Director of international racing of the British Horseracing Authority Ruth Quinn said: “It is excellent news for York, and for British racing, that the Juddmonte International has once again been recognised as the strongest race in the world.”

She continued: “The race is one of the most anticipated of any British summer but last year sadly lacked spectators, like so many great sporting events in the last 12 months. I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I cannot wait until the time when we are all able to return to the Knavesmire and enjoy the Juddmonte International in person again, as we have so many times before.”

William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course, said: “This is a fantastic endorsement of the quality of racing at York. Everyone associated with York is delighted and honoured to win this prestigious award from the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings Committee.

“It means that the Juddmonte International sits on top of the world, higher ranked than more than 100,000 horseraces staged globally.

“It is a tribute to all the hard work and effort invested by the York Race Committee, Juddmonte and all the team at York, so I could not be more proud.

“We remain hugely grateful and appreciative of the continued support we receive from so many individuals, connections and organisations in helping stage top-quality racing at York.

“Having been responsible for the number one race in the world is a huge accolade for York, Yorkshire and British racing.

“It means we are determined to keep building on this award by continuing to deliver fantastic racing action, facilities and experiences at York, into the future, so cannot wait to welcome everyone back.”

The winning trainer of the race was Charlie Appleby, who masterminded the triumphs of Ghaiyyath in both this category and as the world’s leading horse. The Newmarket-based handler commented: “We were thrilled with Ghaiyyath’s win in the Juddmonte International for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Team Godolphin in what we now know was the 2020 Longines World’s Best Race. It was such an impressive and emphatic victory and we were delighted that he won at York.”

British racing has once again made a strong showing in the wider rankings, with three of the top 10 races being staged on the UK’s tracks, all of which form part of Qipco British Champions Series.

Its roll of honour features some of the great names of the turf and 2020’s typically strong renewal did not disappoint, with Ghaiyyath putting up a resounding performance to defeat a field stacked with Group 1 experience and wins.