On the record: Joe Mercer, Richard Fahey, Lyle Hewitson and more …

• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures

Horse Racing Joe Mercer
Joe Mercer: Brigadier Gerard’s jockey rode 2,810 winners in Britain. Photo: Great British Racing

86 Joe Mercer

GB: Brigadier Gerard’s jockey Joe Mercer, champion jockey in 1979 and one of the most popular senior figures ever to grace the weighing room in Britain, has died at the age of 86.

Having ridden his first winner in 1950, the much-loved rider known as ‘Smokin’ Joe’ went on to a total of 2,810 victories across 36 seasons in Britain during which he had spells as stable jockey to Dick Hern, Henry Cecil and Peter Walwyn.

A supreme stylist, Mercer won eight British Classics, including arguably the most celebrated 2,000 Guineas of them all in 1971 when the great Brigadier Gerard defeated Mill Reef and My Swallow. Mercer rode ‘The Brigadier’ in every one of his 18 starts, winning 17; he also rode champion miler Kris, star stayers Le Moss and Buckskin and the Queen’s 1,000 Guineas winner Highclere.

His four St Leger winners included Bustino (1974), whom he also partnered in defeat against Grundy in the following year’s unforgettable King George clash, renowned as the ‘Race of the Century’. After retirement aged 51 in 1985, he was to spend 19 years as racing manager to Maktoum Al Maktoum.

3,000 Richard Fahey

GB: Leading trainer Richard Fahey claimed his 3,000th career victory (Flat and jumps) in Britain when stable jockey Paul Hanagan partnered even-money favourite Hong Kong Harry to win a 7f handicap at Ayr last Tuesday [May 11].

According to Racing Post statistics, Malton-based Fahey is the 11th trainer to reach the landmark in Britain, where Mark Johnston leads the way with 4,743 victories (at May 11).

Former jump jockey Fahey, 55, has trained four British G1 winners (plus several more overseas) headed by Ribchester, who won the Lockinge and Queen Anne Stakes for his Musley Bank stable in 2017; he also won the Prix du Moulin and Jacques le Marois in France. He has trained 2,859 winners on the Flat plus 141 over jumps.

• Read more at the Great British Racing website

1,000 Jamie Kah

Australia: Jamie Kah, who leads the Melbourne jockeys’ premiership, rode the 1,000th winner of her career with a double at Pakenham on Wednesday [May 12].

Having scored earlier on Kurabui, 25-year-old Kah reached the milestone on Bermadez in Race 8 at the country venue.

“It’s pretty cool,” Kah told Racing.com. “You think you’d ride a couple of hundred in your career and you’d never get to 1,000, so this is pretty special.”

200 Lyle Hewitson

South Africa: Congratulations are in order for top jockey Lyle Hewitson, who topped the 200-mark for the 2020-21 season in South Africa when he completed a treble at Fairview on Tuesday [May 11] on Atkinson Grimshaw.

Sent off 5-2 favourite for a Polytrack handicap over 1,300m at the Port Elizabeth venue, the Gavin Smith-trained gelding scored by 2½ lengths under the dual champion jockey, who is 23. Hewitson ended the weekend leading Warren Kennedy by 202-148 in the current title race.

1,000 James Cummings

Australia: James Cummings, Godolphin’s head trainer in Australia, hit the career landmark of 1,000 winners when Heresy ended a dry spell for the trainer with a G3 victory at Morphettville in Adelaide on Saturday [May 15].

Cummings had been marooned on 999 winners since May 1. According to Racing.com, Cummings trained 95 winners in partnership with his late grandfather Bart, then a further 117 on his own before he took over the Godolphin role in July 2017.

123 Nature Strip

Australia: There is a new leader in the Longines-sponsored World’s Best Racehorse Rankings in the shape of top sprinter Nature Strip, awarded a mark of 123 for his victory in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 10.

The Chris Waller-trained six-year-old beat Masked Crusader by two lengths in a race where the first five home were all G1 winners to earn the mark from the IFHA-sanctioned panel and thereby claim first place in the list which covers the period Jan 1-May 9. Next update is due on June 10.

• Full rankings at the IFHA website

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