On the record: Jamie Richards, Knicks Go, St Mark’s Basilica and more …

• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures

Horse Racing Jamie Richards The Perfect Pink
Jamie Richards with The Perfect Pink after notching 50th G1 win in NZ 1,000 Guineas. Photo: NZ Racing Desk/Race Images South

50 Jamie Richards

New Zealand: Champion trainer Jamie Richards achieved more than one notable feat in the NZ 1,000 Guineas on Saturday [Nov 13] at Riccarton Park in Christchurch.

Not only did Richards claim his 50th G1 win as The Perfect Pink scored by a long neck over Shepherd’s Delight, he was responsible for an extraordinary 1-2-3-4 in the Barneswood Farm-sponsored contest. He and winning jockey Opie Bosson were also completing a Guineas double, having collected the 2,000 Guineas with Noverre seven days earlier.

Jamie Richards talks about his 50th G1 victory

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind the last five or six years, after being a young fella growing up in Dunedin,” said Richards. “To bring up the milestone in the South Island and being a southern boy makes it a really special day. I’ve got a lot of people to thank for the position I am in.”

The Perfect Pink is the 26th individual G1 winner for champion sire Savabeel.

128 Knicks Go

USA: According to official IFHA handicappers, Knicks Go produced the highest-rated performance of 2021 with his brilliant victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on November 6.

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Joel Rosario, the five-year-old scored by 2¾ lengths from Medina Spirit to claim America’s richest race – in the process being awarded a new mark of 128.

Knicks Go duly claimed the number one position in the latest edition of the Longines World Best Racehorse Rankings, for races until November 7. There is a three-way tie for second spot, with Adayar, Mishriff and St Mark’s Basilica all having achieved a rating of 127.

Knicks Go is also new #1 on the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s Global Rankings, which better assess career achievement rather than individual performances.

6 St Mark’s Basilica

GB: St Mark’s Basilica has become the sixth Coolmore-owned horse to win Britain’s Horse of the Year awards in the 31st year of the annual Cartier Awards.

The three-year-old Siyouni colt, who races for the Magnier/Tabor/Smith partnership, follows Giant’s Causeway (2000), Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Hurricane Run (2005), Dylan Thomas (2007) and Minding (2016).

The award was announced at a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Wednesday, November 10. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, St Mark’s Basilica added four G1 victories to his CV in 2021, landing the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club, Coral-Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes.

The recipient of the Cartier/Daily Telegraph Award of Merit in 2021 was David Elsworth. Forever synonymous with the legendary Desert Orchid, the incorrigible 81-year-old has scaled the peaks of both Flat and jump racing during a racing career spanning 67 years.

600 Wigberto Ramos

Saudi Arabia: Congratulations to leading Saudi-based rider Wigberto Ramos, who rode his 600th winner in the kingdom last weekend. 

The Panamanian, who is in his mid 50s, enjoyed a treble on Friday’s card [Nov 5] before another victory on Saturday – and he continued in the winning groove in Riyadh this week with another couple. Ramos has 1,470 winners to his name in the US, where he won the G1 Florida Derby in 1993 on Bull Inthe Heather.

10 Chad Brown

USA: Chad Brown won his tenth consecutive training title at the Belmont ‘Fall meet’ that ended on Sunday November 7. The four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer won 29 races at the 31-day meet, while Irad Ortiz led the way among jockeys with 33 victories, including three on the closing-day card.

“It feels great and it’s always special every time I win a title in New York,” Ortiz said. “This is my hometown.”

Brown, who has been year-end leading trainer overall on the New York circuit for six years running, saddled eight graded-stakes winners during the meet including G1s with Rockemperor (Joe Hirsch Turf Classic) and Jack Christopher (Champagne).

6 Tyler Gaffalione

USA: Tyler Gaffalione achieved a notable feat when winning on all six of his mounts on the card at Churchill Downs on Friday [Nov 12]. Gaffalione is the 12th jockey in history of the Kentucky Derby venue to ride six winners on a single card – and the first since Corey Lanerie won on six of his seven mounts on May 27, 2012.

Also worthy of mention for US riding feats is Chantal Sutherland, who had five multi-win days in a row during a 12-win spree at Gulfstream Park last week. “I feel like I am in a zone – I’m super-happy,” she said. “When you have a lot of experience, you go to bed early, take care of your body.”

1,000 Gary Sciacca

USA: Trainer Gary Sciacca earned his 1,000th career victory when Caumsett wired the field under Javier Castellano to win first race on the opening-day meet at Aqueduct on November 11.

“I’m just real happy to get it done,” Sciacca said. “I would have loved to have got it done at Belmont, but I got my start here at Aqueduct so this is great.”

Brooklyn native Sciacca, 61, landed his first victory with Proud Northern at Aqueduct in October 1981. He has won two training titles at Belmont Park (1993 spring meet, 1997 fall meet); his best horse was Saratoga Dew, champion three-year-old filly in 1992.

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