• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
1,000 Danielle Johnson
New Zealand: Danielle Johnson, runaway leader in the NZ jockeys’ championship, brought up her 1,000th winner in the saddle at Te Aroha on Wednesday [Feb 17] when scoring on Feelin’ Fancy.
She becomes the 34th rider to reach the landmark in NZ – and the others include her father Peter, who retired with 1,370 victories to his name. Lisa Allpress and Trudy Thornton are the only other women to hit the 1,000 mark.
“What people are saying to me makes me realise what a big achievement it is,” said Johnson. “Even just saying 1000 wins – wow, that’s a lot of winners. It’s a pretty big deal the more I think about it!”
Johnson, 29, rode her first winner at Ellerslie in April 2007. She completed a four-timer at Te Aroha and ended last weekend on 124 winners – easily more than double the 53-win figure of Craig Grylls, her closest pursuer.
Milestones seem to come virtually every week for Feelin’ Fancy’s trainer Jamie Richards, who landed the 40th G1 success of his career when star filly Probabeel took the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield in Melbourne on Saturday [Feb 20].
• More NZ news at the NZ Racing News website
2,539 Masayoshi Ebina
Japan: The retirement ceremony for veteran jockey Masayoshi Ebina will be held at Nakayama after the final race on Sunday [Feb 28], after which he is set to become a trainer.
Since his 1987 debut, Ebina has won 2,539 victories on the JRA circuit, putting him at fourth place on the all-time list. The 51-year-old has 26 G1 wins (JRA only), plus the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in France on El Condor Pasa, the 1998 Japan Cup hero whom he rode to finish second in the Arc in 1999.
Ebina was also second at Longchamp on Nakayama Festa in 2010, the year in which he landed the illies’ Triple Crown on five-time G1 winner Apapane.
1,000 Flavien Prat
USA: Flavien Prat’s career has blossomed since he crossed the Atlantic to the extent that he is now one of the leading riders in North America, where the Frenchman earned his 1,000th win – and started on the next thousand – by riding four winners at Santa Anita on Friday [Feb 19].
Race 2 was the one in which Prat reached the milestone as he scored aboard favourite Clockstrikestwice. He recorded 12 winners altogether between Thursday and Sunday.
Prat, 28, also rode 296 winners in his native France before his move; he won the Kentucky Derby in 2019 (via DQ on Country House) and has three Breeders’ Cup wins.
5 Freedman family
Australia: Artorius became the fifth horse to be trained by a Freedman to win the Blue Diamond Stakes, Melbourne’s most prestigious two-year-old contest, at Caulfield on Saturday [Feb 20] .
Launched late by jockey Luke Currie, Artorius is officially trained by the father-and-son team of Anthony and Sam Freedman, the latter nothing is first G1 win in the A$1.5m (£842,000) contest.
Anthony also saddled 2019 winner Lyre, while his brother Lee Freedman won the Blue Diamond with Knowledge (1997), Danelagh (1998) and Alinghi (2004).
USA: Balanchine, who died on Thursday [Feb 18], earned a special place in Godolphin history as the Dubai team’s first Classic winner in the 1994 Oaks, when she also beat the colts in the Budweiser Irish Derby.
Unbeaten for Robert Sangster at two before being purchased by Sheikh Maktoum Al Maktoum for a winter in Dubai as part of the nascent Godolphin team, she went on to become Europe’s champion three-year-old filly for UAE trainer Hilal Ibrahim, Saeed Bin Suroor’s predecessor.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the daughter of Storm Bird was short-headed by Las Meninas in the 1,000 Guineas before scoring at Epsom (Dettori’s first British Classic success) and The Curragh. After an emergency operation for serious colic that saved her life, Balanchine failed to win in three further starts in 1995 and was retired to the paddocks. She lived out her days at Gainsborough Stud in the US.