A year on the Horse Racing Planet – the stories you read the most in 2020

All right, it’s not quite a year, but Horse Racing Planet has entered the twelfth calendar month of its existence. Here’s a recap of the stories you read the most since we formed from a cloud of gas and dust last February …

1. Mike de Kock issues grim warning of ‘mass equine euthanasias’ amid South Africa’s racing shutdown

Thankfully it didn’t come to pass. Also thankfully, although this was HRP’s most-read story of the year, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and other leaders struggling for ideas didn’t notice it at all. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Michael Curran

2. Newmarket shocked by tragic death of Golden Horn’s lad Michael Curran

Horse racing mourned the death in May of Michael ‘Mick’ Curran, who looked after both Derby winner Golden Horn and superstar miler Kingman during a long spell working for John Gosden. Read the story here …

3. ‘This thing is no joke’ – Victor Espinoza opens up about catching coronavirus

In July, Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza talked about his coronavirus experience, believing he contracted it at Los Alamitos and admitting: “I let my guard down.” Read the story here …

4. ‘It could take a whole year to recover’ – Filip Minarik goes home but knows he will never ride again

We followed the story of the four-time German champion jockey after a fall left him “50-50” to survive. He went home in November, saying he owed his life to his wife Katja and fellow jockeys like Frankie Dettori and Patrick Gibson, who helped raise funds for his care. Read the story here …

5. Who’s the greatest? Winx, Frankel, Phar Lap and Secretariat do virtual battle in Cox Plate animation

Don’t let reality get in the way of a virtual battle of the all-time greats. In October the fun but utterly imaginary ‘Cox Plate’ caught the imagination of crazed racing fans around the planet. Read the story here …

6. Everything’s all white in Japan as ‘idol horse’ Sodashi makes G1 history

One of the nation’s favourites carved a slice of racing history in December when she became the first white horse ever to win a G1 event in Japan. Read the story here …

7. ‘I’ve been trying to buy Sir Dragonet for more than a year’ – new owner Ozzie Kheir

Some were sceptical when the owner paid loadsamoney – but not as much as the rumours suggested – for the ex-Ballydoyle colt. But Kheir had the last laugh when he landed the Cox Plate. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Christophe Clement trainer

8. Ten horses killed in horror crash en route to Christophe Clement’s New York barn

Horses being transported to the trainer died in a horrific traffic accident in June on the New Jersey Turnpike when the truck carrying them crashed and caught fire. Read the story here …

Japan World Cup game

9. It’s horse racing, but not as we know it – watch these wacky races

Think that bloke in Metamorphosis had it bad waking up as a giant beetle? Have a look at the racing mutations in the Japan World Cup game. Everyone else has. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Ritto fire in Japan

10. Stable fire claims lives of four racehorses at Japan’s premier training centre

Four racehorses were killed in a fire at the JRA’s primary training centre, Ritto, August. Trainer Akira Murayama’s stables were reportedly “burned down” and the blaze spread. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Kendrick Carmouche jockey

11. 20,000 rides, 3,300 wins and 20 years in the making: emotional first G1 success for jockey Kendrick Carmouche

Took a while, but it just made the feeling sweeter as the jockey hit the high note at Aqueduct in December – after two decades in the saddle. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Mickaelle Michel jockey and Frederic Spanu agent

12. ‘The new Julie Krone’ – why Mickaelle Michel can be world number one female

She’s hardly been off our pages! Mickaelle Michel started 2020 making a splash on the NRA circuit in Japan – and in 2021 she’s the first overseas female to get a JRA licence. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Saudi Cup jockeys

13. Saudi Cup: Frankie Dettori heads starry cast in male v female jockey challenge

Female riders of the world were welcomed at the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting in February as Frankie Dettori and Sophie Doyle headed a cast of top riders. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Sophie Doyle jockey

14. Sophie Doyle hits the road for new partnership with prolific US owner

The expat British jockey hit the freeway across the middle states of the US as part of a new relationship riding first call for leading owner Danny Caldwell. Read the story here …

15. Sean Woods: trainer back in business in Britain and ready with some ‘cracking’ youngsters

The trainer announced his return 20 years after he last saddled a runner in Britain – he’ll be sending them out from Shalfleet Stables in Newmarket. Read the story here …

16. ‘The damage will be devastating’ – trainer Adam West on plight of smaller yards amid coronavirus

You’ve got to take time off from TikTok to assess the serious issues. In May, the Espom trainer talked in depth about the damage lockdown was causing and the scars it might leave. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Maximum Security

17. Nicholas Godfrey: Why this must be the day of reckoning for US racing

It was all so much simpler then, when all we had to worry about were the allegations about systematic cheating that rocked US horse racing to its core. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Jamie Osborne trainer

18. Jamie Osborne looks on the bright side of life during COVID-19 shutdown

In the Valley of the Racehorse, as coronavirus hit, the hills were alive with the sound of music. Quite literally, as jockeys and grooms performed in Jamie Osborne’s viral videos. Read the story here …

Horse Racing Zoe White 780

19. Apprentice banned for six months for breaching COVID-19 quarantine order

In May, jockey Zoe White was hammered for riding trackwork in defiance of new COVID-19 rules in Queensland. Oof! Read the story here …

Horse Racing Mark Johnston trainer

20. Mark Johnston in isolation after positive coronavirus test

The record-breaking British trainer was an early high-profile figure to test positive for the virus. He got better. And hopefully everything else will in 2021. Read the story here …

A one-man equine pantheon: remembering Khalid Abdullah and his top ten horses

World top 20 racehorses | World top jockeys and trainers

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