• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
100 Danielle Johnson
New Zealand: Danielle Johnson, runaway leader of the NZ jockeys’ premiership for 2020-21, streaked to a century of winners when she scored on Quattro Quinto at Trentham on Saturday [Jan 16]in the Wellesley Stakes (Listed).
Johnson, 29, ended up with a four-timer on the card, among them a Group-race double highlighted by her first G1 win of the season on Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old Avantage, who recorded a repeat success in the Telegraph. The mare has won six G1s altogether.
“It was such a cool day and so good to get to the 100-win mark,” she said. “It was also my first Group 1 of the season, which was also good as I was getting quite frustrated about that as I’d only managed to rack up some placings so far this year.
“I’ve always said I would love to win a jockeys’ premiership, but I don’t want to do that without winning Group 1s along the way.”
Johnson ended the weekend with 103 winners – more than double her closest pursuer, Craig Grylls, who has 46.
7 Royal Ascot
GB: Seven-race cards will be the norm every day at Royal Ascot from now on following a decision to make the majority of last season’s Covid-inspired extensions a permanent change.
Last year the Copper Horse Stakes, the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes and the Golden Gates Stakes were added to the programme and the Buckingham Palace Stakes was reinstated. These races have all been retained, while the Kensington Palace Stakes is a new handicap to be run over the Old Mile for fillies and mares aged four and up.
The ‘Silver’ versions of the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham Stakes have not been retained and there will not be eight races on Saturday as there were in 2020.
158 Dubai World Cup Carnival
UAE: A total of 158 overseas horses representing 63 trainers in 12 countries on five continents feature on the Dubai Racing Club’s list of acceptors for the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which begins on Thursday [Jan 21] at Meydan.
The biggest teams in numbers terms are headed by Simon Crisford, who has five-time Group-winning sprinter A’Ali at his Dubai satellite barn, and Bahraini-based carnival regular Fawzi Nass. Both are into double figures.
This year’s Dubai Carnival, abbreviated owing to Covid, features seven cards running on six consecutive Thursdays prior to Super Saturday on March 6. The Dubai World Cup card – money down to $26.5m – takes place on March 29.
86 Bruce Headley
USA: The Californian racing community is in mourning for longserving trainer Burce Headley, who died on Friday [Jan 15] from the effects of a stroke, one month short of his 87th birthday.
Headley, who started training in 1959, enjoyed his greatest successes with champion sprinter Kona Gold, who ran in five editions of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, winning in 2000 and being placed twice more.
“He’s a throwback to the old days, a pure horseman through and through,” said Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron. “An excellent caretaker, a great family man, and a heck of a human being.”
5 Antoine Hamelin
Hong Kong: Unless your name is Joao Moreira or Zac Purton, five-timers are a rarity in Hong Kong but Antoine Hamelin stole the show with his nap hand at Sha Tin on Sunday [Jan 17].
The Frenchman ended a 51-race losing streak with his amazing 456,013-1 five-timer – all of them in handicaps. He has 13 winners to his name altogether this season and had never ridden more than four winners on a single card. “The other time was a long time ago in France at Fontainebleau,” he said.
15 Great Escape
Argentina: Great Escape, 15-length winner of the Gran Premio Nacional (Argentine Derby) at Palermo in November, has joined US-based Ignacio Correas as part of his string based at Fair Grounds. The Argentine also trained Blue Prize to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2019; like Great Escape, Blue Prize was also trained by Jorge Mayansky Neer in her native country.