• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
122 Mystic Guide
Dubai World Cup winner Mystic Guide has joined Saudi Cup hero Mishriff with an official rating of 122 to lead the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2021. Compiled by a team of international handicappers for the IFHA, this latest edition of the rankings covers January 1 – April 4.
Mishriff followed up his Saudi success with another top-grade performance in the Dubai Sheema Classlc on turf. Rated a pound behind the top pair on a mark of 121 are Australian sprint duo Eduardo and Nature Strip. Next edition will be published on May 13.
50 James McDonald
Australia: Leading Sydney-based rider James McDonald claimed the 50th G1 success of his career (in Australia and New Zealand) on Anamoe in the Inglis Sires’ Produce, the first leg of a G1 double at Day 1 of The Championships completed by the brilliant Nature Strip in the TJ Smith Stakes.
“I’ve been very lucky with the support I’ve had through the 12 years I’ve been here, it’s been marvellous,” said the 29-year-old New Zealander, who has reached the milestone faster than any other rider in Aussie history. He also has one G1 winner in Hong Kong via Xtension’s Champions Mile success in 2012.
3,000 Paco Lopez
USA: Paco Lopez became the latest US-based rider to reach the 3,000-winner milestone on Saturday [April 10] at Gulfstream Park – via a DQ in the second race.
Lopez, 35, won the first on Our Little Devil before the stewards promoted Heart Of God to first above Sassy Beast in the next race, then for good measure, he completed a hat-trick on Eamonn in the third.
A former Quarter Horse jockey in his native Mexico, Lopez won the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice in 2009 after moving to South Florida. An 11-time champion rider at New Jersey tracks, Lopez has won eight G1s, among them a Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Roy H in 2018.
7 Doug Watson
UAE: Despite having to shut up shop for two weeks earlier in the season owing to a COVID-19 among stable employees, Doug Watson has claimed a record seventh UAE training title with 40 winners.
Although he did not trouble the scorers at Friday’s [April 9] final meeting at Al Ain, where the card featured mainly Arab racing, the popular American finished one ahead of closest pursuer Ernst Oertel.
The highlight of Watson’s campaign was the Super Saturday G3 double with Canvassed in the Mahab Al Shimaal and Midnight Sands in the Burj Nahaar. He also won the UAE Oaks with Mnasek plus the Al Shindagha Sprint with Al Tariq. All were ridden by stable jockey Pat Dobbs.
Confirmed as UAE champion jockey for the ninth time was Tadhg O’Shea with 49 winners, while Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda is leading owner with 39 victories.
France: Odds-on favourite Philomene, impressive winner of the G3 Prix Penelope at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday [April 6], was a 200th stakes winner for her super sire Dubawi. Darley’s son of Dubai Millennium is responsible for 44 individual G1 winners among a total of 130 individual Group winners.