Top 10 Milers of the Modern Era

Hot on the heels of the inaugural running of the All-Star mile we take a look back through the history books and select our top 10 milers of the modern era.

Jack Zuber
Tue, 12 Mar, 12:00 AM

10. Northerly

“The Fighting Tiger” was one of many champion Australian race horses seen in the early 2000’s. He won 9 Group 1 races over his career and encapsulated the nation with his tenacious spirit, often looking gone only to kick back and win. The weight for age champion won the title of Australia’s best middle-distance horse in 2002 and 2003. Since only one of his Group 1 wins was over 1600m he takes out 10th spot.

9. Maurice

After an inauspicious start to his career, winless from his first 4 starts, “The Beast From The East”, furnished into one of the most imposing race horses come his 4-year-old season. In 2015-2016 he became known as one of the world’s best milers taking out the Yasuda Kinen and Mile Championship then going to Hong Kong and dominating the Hong Kong and Champions mile.

8. Lonhro

“The black flash” was a winner of 26 races after 35 starts including 11 Group 1’s. The now prolific sire won 3 of those Group 1’s over 1600m (and a further 2 over 1500m) including the Caulfield Guineas at 3 in 2001, George Main and Chipping Norton in 2003. In an era rife with Australian champion race horses this champion was never afraid of a stoush. His best distance was further than 1600m hence his placing on this list.

7. Vodka

The 2008 and 2009 Japanese horse of the year was an exceptional miler who won seven Grade 1 races over her 5-year career. When she retired in 2010 she was the highest earning race mare in thoroughbred history amassing over 13 million US dollars. She instantly showed her prowess at 1600m when winning the Hanshin Juveline Fillies in 2006 at 2. In 2009 she would become the third horse ever to win the prestigious Yasuda Kinen twice en route to completing a winning double in two of Japan’s best mile races when winning the Victoria Mile later that year (which she lost narrowly the year prior).

6. Sunline

The New Zealand bred mare was a winner of 32 races over her illustrious 48 start career. She was the highest earning race mare in her time amassing $11.3 million and raking in numerous awards including Australian race horse and champion female in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The tough on-speeder won 4 Group 1 mile races from ages 2 to 6, including the Doncaster Handicap twice. She excelled over further too, taking out successive Cox Plates in 1999 (same year she won the Doncaster) and 2000.

5. Super Impose

In 1991, he became the only horse to ever win both Sydney’s toughest Group 1 mile races (Doncaster and Epsom) in successive years – a record that still stands. In the same year he would stamp his affinity for the distance when winning the Group 1 Chipping Norton. He would go on to win the Chipping Norton again in 1992 on his way to a historic Cox Plate win as an 8 year-old.

4. Frankel

One of the modern greats of the turf has to be included in this list. 6 of his 14 undefeated starts were victories over a mile at Group (grade) 1 level. All of these wins were condensed into a breathtaking two-year period where he won the 2000 Guineas and Sussex Stakes in 2011 then returned in 2012 to win the Queen Elizabeth II, Lockinge and Queen Anne and the Sussex Stakes again. His Queen Anne Stakes win saw him record the highest ever Timeform rating of 147.

3. Wise Dan

This modern champion of the American track has the claim to fame of being the only horse in history to win the same three Eclipse awards (Horse of the Year, Champion Older Male and Champion Male on Turf) in consecutive years (2012 and 2013). From his 23 wins (from 31 races) 19 were at Graded level and 11 at Grade 1. From 2012-2014 he was the most dominant miler in America winning the Woodbine mile in 2012 and 2013, Shadwell Turf Mile in 2012 and 2014, Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2012 and 2013 and the Makers Mark Mile in 2013 and 2014 all at Grade 1 level.

2. Goldikova

The champion French mare won 14 Group 1 races in 3 different countries over her 27-start career. Of those 14 Group 1’s an astounding 11 were over a mile. Most famously she won the Prix Rothschild 4 years straight from 2008-2011 and is the only horse (since Grade 1 racing was introduced) to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile 3 thrice in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The champion miler was only denied a fourth win in the Breeders’ Cup mile by a length at her final career start. 

1. Winx

This list would feel incomplete without a mention of one of if not the greatest race horses of all time in Winx. The champion middle-distance mare is a sad omission from the inaugural All-Star mile, but that is in no way due to her lack of affinity for 1600m. She has won 9 times at Group 1 level over a mile, including bringing up 4 consecutive victories in the Chipping Norton this year. Perhaps one of her most freakish wins was when she took out (only) her second Group 1 in the 2015 Epsom after almost tripping during the run then mowing them down from a near impossible positon.

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