• The week’s significant milestones
5 Oju Chosan
Japan: With fewer than 130 jump races every year, the steeplechasing branch of the sport is generally regarded as a side issue in Japan – but that doesn’t stop the idiosyncratic Nakayama Grand Jump being one of the most valuable races of its kind with a prize fund of ¥126m (£938,000).
Sent off at odds of 1-10, Oju Chosan (Shoichiro Wada/Shinichi Ishigami) completed a stunning five-timer in the race – started from stalls and taking in a weird-and-wonderful set of obstacles – on Saturday [April 18] to take his winning streak over jumps to 13 races. The nine-year-old is easily the top-earning jumps horse of all-time.
Australia: Dual Everest winner Redzel was retired last week. With a career total of A$16.4m (about £8.3m) prize-money, the seven-year-old is the second highest-earning racehorse in Australian history behind only the legendary Winx, who is number one on the world’s all-time list.
Trained by the father-and-son Peter & Paul Snowden partnership for the Triple Crown syndicate, he earned his fame via back-to-back victories under Kerrin McEvoy in the first two editions of the A$14m Everest, the world’s richest turf race at Randwick.
99 Nanako Fujita
Japan: Hugely popular jockey Nanako Fujita, the only female rider licensed by the Japan Racing Association, is now only one short of a career century after partnering her 99th winner on Sano Mama in the opener at Fukushima on Saturday [April 18]. Victory in the three-year-old maiden, off at 9.50am, was Fujita’s ninth of the season.
99 Arkansas Derby
USA: With opportunities limited owing to coronavirus, American-based trainers are clearly making the most of the major prizes that remain.
An unprecedented total of 99 initial entries, including the majority of the nation’s leading three-year-olds, have been received for the G1 Arkansas Derby, rescheduled from April 11 until May 2 – the first Saturday in May. There’s usually another Derby on that date. Officials at Oaklawn Park are talking about running the $750,000 contest in two divisions.
90 Irad Ortiz
USA: Reigning champion jockey Irad Ortiz, who has not ridden since March 19 owing to concerns over coronavirus, is set to return on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The Puerto Rican led the nation with 90 wins and $5.28m in prize-money before his self-imposed exile. He’s still on top for money – hardly surprising as he rode Mucho Gusto to win the $3m Pegasus World Cup, but Luis Saez leads on numbers with 103.