On the record: David Elsworth, Yutaka Take, Brad Cox and more …

• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures

Horse Racing David Elsworth trainer
David Elsworth: retires after 66 years in racing. Photo: Hong Kong Jockey Club

82 David Elsworth

GB: David Elsworth, one of the greatest dual-purpose trainers in racing history, announced his retirement last week after 66 years in the sport.

Elsworth, 82, started out as a stable lad in 1955 with Alec Kilpatrick and went on to ride as a jump jockey before becoming a trainer. In the latter sphere, his name will forever be associated with the legendary Desert Orchid, perhaps the most popular British jumps horse of all time.

Alongside a string of high-profile jumpers including winners of the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Chase and King George VI Chase, Elsworth enjoyed a plethora of G1 victories on the Flat, where his best-known horses were led by top stayer Persian Punch and champion filly In The Groove.

“David Elsworth was a champion who became the best dual-purpose British trainer of his generation, a man for all seasons equally adept with staying chasers and precocious two-year-olds,” said Racing Post historian John Randall.


23 Yutaka Take

Japan: Legendary rider Yutaka Take has now won 23 of the 24 G1 contests on the JRA circuit after finally landing his first victory in the Asahi Hai Futurity on Sunday [Dec 19] on Do Deuce, who took his unbeaten record to three in the 73rd running of ¥152m (£1m) event.

Take, 52, is the winningmost jockey in JRA history with a career total of 4,319 victories, including 75 during the current season. The only G1 to have eluded him is the Hopeful Stakes, which was upgraded only in 2017.

“It’s been a while since my last G1 victory which makes the win even sweeter,” said Take. “I hope I can make the sweep next week in the Hopeful Stakes.”


31.2m Brad Cox

USA: America’s champion trainer Brad Cox established a new single-season prize-money record on Friday [Dec 17] when five of his nine runners across the nation were successful.

According to Equibase statistics, the record-breaking victory came from Florent Geroux-ridden In Dreams, the second of the trainer’s three winners at Oaklawn Park, which took Cox’s money total to $31,249,841 – enough to surpass Chad Brown’s 2019 mark of $31,112,144.

By close of play on Saturday night, Cox’s prize-money total stood at $31,386,212 from 260 wins, among them 30 graded stakes wins highlighted by Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Essential Quality’s Belmont. 

However, Cox is not a sure thing to lead the title race, with prolific Steve Asmussen not far behind on $30.9m.


15.6m Ascot

GB: Ascot has announced record prize-money for 2022 at £15.64m, with Royal Ascot alone carrying purses in excess of £8.65m and featuring two £1m events.

A total of £15.64 million will be on offer at Ascot in 2022 (not including Qipco British Champions Day, which is an industry partnership), representing a near-£2m (14.4%) increase on pre-pandemic levels.

Royal Ascot’s Tuesday card with three G1s is set to become the meeting’s first £2m card, while both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the renamed Platinum Jubilee Stakes will become the first £1m races. No race at Royal Ascot will be run for less than £100,000.

The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes will return to its pre-pandemic value of £1.25m, while the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is being revamped and expanded.

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said: “Our next ambition, as we build Ascot as a global brand wrapped around world-class racing, is to be able to offer at least £1m for each of our nine Group 1 races in the coming years.”

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