• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
12 Japan Cup
Japan: After such a wonderful performance from the brilliant Contrail, this is probably no time to dwell on a negative.
However, it is perhaps worth noting that despite an above-par effort from French-trained Grand Glory in fifth, yet again none of the three European contenders made the frame at Tokyo racecourse on Sunday.
Despite a lack of obvious depth to the race overall, the Ballydoyle pair never looked like featuring. Japan was eighth, Broome 11th of an 18-runner field, many of whom were genuine no-hopers.
The last European-trained horse to make the first four in Japan’s showpiece international contest was Sir Michael Stoute-trained Conduit, fourth in 2009 – 12 years ago. The last overseas winner was Alkaased in 2005.
As no one here needs reminding, Japanese middle-distance horses are at least the equal of anywhere else in the world, last year’s Triple Crown winner Contrail being a fine example. Despite an interrupted four-year-old campaign, the son of the legendary Deep Impact goes to stud on the back of five G1 victories following an authoritative two-length verdict over Authority with Tokyo Yushun (Derby) hero Shahryar third.
Contrail’s trainer is none other than Yoshito Yahagi, who left his mark on the Breeders’ Cup with that historic double. He now has 14 JRA G1 wins, while jockey Yuichi Fukunaga has 32.
GB: Fireworks last week at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale in Newmarket where Godolphin outbid Coolmore for a 1.8 million guineas Dubawi colt consigned by Michael Swinburn’s Genesis Green Stud.
Out of the dam Madonna Dell’orto, Lot 965 is a half-brother to I Can Fly. He duly became the equal second highest-priced foal ever sold in Europe and the highest-priced foal sold in Europe since 2002.
29 Pink Lloyd
Canada: The curtain came down on the career of remarkable Canadian sprinter Pink Lloyd on Saturday [Nov 28] when he won the G2 Kennedy Road Stakes for the third time.
Trained by Robert Tiller, the nine-year-old recorded his 29th victory from 38 career starts by a half-length after a late rally under Rafael Hernandez.
A seven-time Sovereign Award winner, Pink Lloyd has never run anywhere other than Woodbine in Toronto; he was Canadian Horse of the Year in 2018, when he was unbeaten in eight starts.
“You know, he’s a legend,” said Tiller. “He proved today he was a legend. I didn’t think he’d win today. It looked awful tough to me.”
700 Danny Shum
Hong Kong: Royal Ascot-winning trainer Danny Shum reached the 700-win milestone in Hong Kong as a trainer when oods-on favourite Romantic Warrior took a Class 4 handicap at Happy Valley on Wednesday night [Nov 24].
Shum, 61, trained Little Bridge to win the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012. Of HK-based trainers, only Tony Cruz (1,361), John Size (1,341), Caspar Fownes (974), Ricky Yiu (851), Dennis Yip (782) and Francis Lui (760) have trained more winners, while John Moore holds the overall record of 1,735.
“It means I have to work harder, it’s not bad – but it’s not great for 18 years!” commented Shum. “It’s about 40 winners a season, I need to do better actually.”
150 Fair Grounds
USA: Fair Grounds, America’s third-oldest racetrack, opened its doors for its 150th season on Thursday [Nov 25] last week. In operation since 1872, the New Orleans venue runs until March 27; opening-day highlight was the 97th running of the Thanksgiving Classic, won by Just Might (Michelle Lovell/Colby Hernandez).
66 Mark Walker
Singapore: Mark Walker secured his fourth title as Singapore champion trainer on Saturday night [Nov 28] when the New Zealander sent out his 66th winner of the season with King Arthur in a Class 4 event.
The Singapore season runs on a calendar-year basis, with December now a month off. Walker’s previous titles came in 2015, 2017 (record 87 wins) and 2019; he has also been runner-up three times. Before leaving for Singapore in 2010, Walker was a five-time NZ champion.
500 Bernie Flint
USA: Bernie Flint became only the sixth trainer in history to saddle 500 winners at Churchill Downs when Saintsation won the opener last Wednesday [Nov 24] beneath the Twin Spires. Flint, 81, joins Steve Asmussen (814), Dale Romans (772), Bill Mott (742), D Wayne Lukas (545) and Tom Amoss (522) in the 500-win club.