• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
50 Frankie Dettori
GB: Can’t let this week’s spot go without a Happy Birthday message to the one and only Frankie Dettori, who reached the half-century on Tuesday [Dec 15].
Recently named Longines World’s Best Jockey for the third consecutive year, he also retains the #1 spot in the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s Global Rankings.
Milan-born Dettori is a three-time champion in Britain with 3,259 winners there alone. He rode his first winner on Rif at Turin racecourse on November 16, 1986 and his first winner as an apprentice in Britain came on Luca Cumani-trained Lizzy Hare at Goodwood on June 9, 1987.
A total of 17 British Classics feature among a G1 haul of 109 but his greatest achievement remains the ‘Magnificent Seven’ at Ascot on September 28, 1996.
1,200 Zac Purton
Hong Kong: Quite a week for Zac Purton, who on Wednesday [Dec 9] won the HK$500,000 (£48,000) first prize in the annual Longines International Jockeys’ Championship at Happy Valley, where he also became only the second HK-based rider to reach the 1,200-winner mark in the jurisdiction.
Reigning HK champion Purton, 37, rode a treble on the card to reach the landmark. A four-time winner of the HK jockeys’ title, he trails only Douglas Whyte (1,813) on the all-time list; the Australian rode his first winner in Hong Kong in 2007.
Purton wasn’t done with Wednesday’s exploits, either, as he partnered Normcore to win the Hong Kong Cup, the feature event at Sunday’s HK International Races at Sha Tin. Purton is now the most successful rider ever at the meeting with eight winners, one more than Gerald Mosse.
105m Beauty Generation
Hong Kong: The curtain was brought down on superstar miler Beauty Generation’s career after he finished a gallant fifth behind the spectacular Golden Sixty in Sunday’s Hong Kong Mile.
Eight times a G1 winner and twice HK Horse of the Year, the eight-year-old retires as the highest prize-money earner in HK racing history with HK$105,000,000 (about £10.15m) to his name. Trained for the majority of his career by John Moore, he also owns the highest official rating ever attained by a HK-based horse alongside Able Friend with his mark of 127 in 2018.
Beauty Generation, who won 18 of his 34 starts in HK, will live out his days at the Living Legends equine retirement home in Victoria, Australia.
2,450 Chris Johnson
New Zealand: After winning on Point Score on Saturday’s [Dec 12] card at Invercargill, veteran jockey Chris Johnson stands on the verge of becoming the all-time record holder in New Zealand. That victory took him to 2,450, equalling the mark set by David Walsh.
“When I first started riding I was hoping to get a winner, let alone 100 or 2,000-odd,” said Johnson, 56.
100 Ralph Beckett
GB: Classic-winning trainer Ralph Beckett reached a personal milestone with only the second century of his career when Surefire scored at Newcastle on Saturday [Dec 12].
Taking winners in only Britain into account, Beckett’s previous best is 101 in 2016 – and he promptly equalled that when Diocles Of Rome completed a double at Newcastle. Not bad going given that a chunk of the season was lost to Covid-19.