• The week’s significant milestones
5,000 Bill Mott
USA: Bill Mott, whose name will forever be associated with the great Cigar, became only the seventh trainer in history to saddle 5,000 winners in North America when Moon Over Miami took the third race at Churchill Downs on Saturday [June 20].
Mott, 66, saddled his first winner aged 15 in 1969 – before he was out of high school in his native South Dakota. In 1998, at the age of 45, he became the youngest trainer ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, Mott’s achievement in reaching 5,000 wins is all the more meritorious in that he has prioritised quality over quantity for at least two decades and does not train on the industrial scale of someone like Steve Asmussen.
He trained dual Horse of the Year Cigar to win 16 consecutive races in 1995 and 1996, including an unforgettable victory in the inaugural Dubai World Cup. Mott won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Country House.
Above Mott on the all-time in career victories are Dale Baird (9,445), Steve Asmussen (8,873), Jerry Hollendorfer (7,651), Jack Van Berg (6,523), King Leatherbury (6,503) and Scott Lake (6,104).
73 Frankie Dettori
GB: Guess who provided the most significant of the many numerical milestones at Royal Ascot? Yeah, okay, Frankie Dettori. Who else?
Crowned top rider at the meeting for the seventh time with six winners – more second places meant he beat Jim Crowley, who also had six – Dettori completed a Group-race treble on Saturday’s card to take his overall tally at the meeting to 73 victories.
That figure matches the mark reached by the late Pat Eddery. “I sat next to Pat for 15 years,” said Dettori, whose first Royal Ascot winner was Markofdistinction 30 years ago in the Queen Anne.
“He was one of my heroes – I used to nickname him ‘God’ and to equal him gives me great satisfaction, God bless him.”
While Dettori has a long way to claim the top spot from Lester Piggott, who rode 116 Royal Ascot winners, he can at least reflect on the fact that Alpine Star’s victory in the Coronation Stakes means he has now won all eight G1s at the meeting.
2,000 Robert Tiller
Canada: Veteran trainer Robert Tiller reached the 2,000-winner mark when odds-on shot Have A Souper Day wired the field to win the seventh race at Woodbine in Toronto on Friday [June 19].
“It’s a great honour,” said Tiller, 70. “It’s been a lot of years. The biggest thing I like about this is most of these starts were right here at home at Woodbine because I don’t winter-race usually.”
Tiller, who had his first winner in 1972, has earned three Sovereign Awards as Canada’s outstanding trainer (2001, 2003 and 2004) and was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.
150 Aidan O’Brien
GB: Circus Maximus in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday [June 16] was Aidan O’Brien’s 150th G1 success in England. However, leading trainer at Royal Ascot was John Gosden, whose six winners included three G1s (Lord North, Stradivarius, Palace Pier).
Gosden passed the half-century mark when Frankly Darling won the Ribblesdale on Tuesday; he ended the meeting on 55. Ryan Moore’s 60th Royal Ascot success came on Russian Emperor on Wednesday’s card; he now has 62.
150 Nando Parrado
GB: At 150-1, the Coventry Stakes victory of Nando Parrado is believed to be the longest-priced in the history of Royal Ascot.
“Not a shock at all!” grinned trainer Clive Cox. “The price was a shock – Nando Parrado is a proper horse and we loved him from the start.”
There have been two 100-1 winners in the modern era of Royal Ascot, namely Fox Chapel (1990 Britannia) and Flashmans Papers (2008 Windsor Castle).