• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
3,819 Richard Johnson
GB: Horse Racing Planet may claim to be the place where the world is Flat – but even we are prepared to extend our remit to recognise the achievements of jump jockey Richard Johnson, who announced his retirement on Saturday [April 3].
Johnson, 43, was described as a “statistical marvel” in the pages of the Racing Post by the sport’s foremost historian John Randall. With 3,819 winners in Britain and Ireland (two more in France), he stands second only to the great AP McCoy (4,348) on the all-time list.
Johnson was a four-time champion jockey with nearly all jumping’s major prizes on his CV, including Cheltenham’s ‘Big Four’: the Gold Cup (twice), Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. He was also runner-up in the jump jockeys’ title race on no fewer than 17 occasions – 16 of them behind McCoy.
79 Richard Kingscote
Richard Kingscote was crowned Britain’s all-weather champion jockey for the first time, with 79 winners at close of play as the official season ended with Friday’s [April 2] AW Championship meeting at Lingfield Park.
After finishing seven ahead of Hollie Doyle, Kingscote said: “For me, only being able to ride at one meeting has been a positive and I think a lot of the lads in the weighing room are now in favour.”
Rutland-based Mick Appleby took the trainers’ honours for a fourth consecutive season (and fifth time in all) with 59 victories, his highest-ever AW total. Marco Ghiani, who is apprenticed to Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams, edged out Laura Person to become champion AW apprentice with 28 winners.
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600 Tadhg O’Shea
UAE: On the verge of winning his ninth UAE jockeys’ title, Tadgh O’Shea had a landmark success at Abu Dhabi on Sunday [April 4] with his 600th success in the region.
The winningmost rider in UAE racing history reached the milestone as he completed a double on the card with a smooth success on AF Alajaj for trainer Ernst Oertel in the 1m handicap for Purebred Arabians.
“Wow, 600, that is amazing!” said O’Shea, whose 47 winners this winter include Secret Ambition in the Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card. “As I always say, I have the easy job and just steer them around in a race. It is all the teams behind the horses who do all the hard work.”
500 Julien Leparoux
USA: Julien Leparoux became only the fourth rider to reach the 500-winner mark at Keeneland when he scored on Calumet Farm’s Gear Jockey in the fifth race on the track’s opening spring meet card on Friday [April 2].
Leparoux, who has won 12 riding titles at the famed Lexington venue, joins Pat Day (918), Don Brumfield (716) and Robby Albarado (526) in topping the 500. “Keeneland has always been a place I love – this is my favorite track in America,” said Leparoux.
1,700 Umberto Rispoli
USA: Expat Italian rider Umberto Rispoli partnered his 1,700th winner worldwide with Doug O’Neill-trained McWherter in the eighth race at Santa Anita on Friday [April 2].
Victory in the 6f maiden claimer was his 165th since he moved to the US at the end of 2019. Better followed 24 hours later when the he won the G1 Santa Anita Derby on Rock Your World, who now looks a leading contender for Kentucky Derby honours.
1 Jose Morelos
USA: Jose Morelos, rider of 503 winners in his native Panama, broke his US duck at the tenth time of asking when he scored on Wild Cat West in the mile maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park on Sunday [April 4]. The 20-year-old’s US debut had come only on April 1.