Author: Nicholas Godfrey
10... Tadhg O’Shea
Record breaking jockey Tadhg O’Shea was crowned Champion Jockey for the tenth time at the end of the UAE season at Al Ain on Friday, 1 April, where he rode his 68th winner of the campaign on Ernst Oertel-trained AF Mukhrej in a Purebred Arabian contest. O’Shea’s tally represented a personal best for the winningmost rider ever in the region; he also enjoyed a career landmark this term with his first Thoroughbred Group One success aboard veteran sprinter Switzerland in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. O’Shea finished ten clear of runner-up Antonio Fresu, while Switzerland’s trainer Bhupat Seemar is Champion Trainer with 47 victories in his first season with a licence. Oertel was second best on 41.
20... Golden Sixty
After two successive defeats, Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty regained the winning thread with an emphatic victory in the Group 2 Chairman’s Trophy at Sha Tin on Sunday. The 6yo won eased down by a couple of lengths under Vincent Ho to become the first horse ever to win 20 races in the territory; he also became only the second horse after all time leading earner Beauty Generation to surpass the HK$100 million mark in prize money. Next up is the Group 1 Champions Mile on 24 April, where a repeat victory would take him past Beauty Generation’s record mark of approximately HK$106m.
3... Nature Strip
The world’s #1 sprinter Nature Strip is set for a trip to Royal Ascot after completing a hat-trick in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on Day 1 of The Championships in Sydney on Saturday. With Chris Waller-trained stablemate Home Affairs being lined up for the King’s Stand Stakes, Nature Strip is likely to target the Platinum Jubilee Stakes. The brilliant 7yo posted a dominant victory at Randwick under James McDonald to emulate Chautauqua, who also won Sydney’s premier sprint three times in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Nature Strip has won eight Group Ones altogether, plus last year’s Everest, the world’s richest turf race but ineligible for Group status.
7... Triple Crown
Champion Trainer Bhupat Seemar’s UAE Derby runner-up Summer Is Tomorrow features among seven late nominees who were made eligible for the US Triple Crown at a $6,000 fee at last week’s late nomination stage. A total of 321 horses now feature in the list for the series, which begins on 7 May with the 148th Kentucky Derby. UAE 2000 Guineas winner Azure Coast was another late nominee, while Japan’s UAE Derby hero Crown Pride is already eligible and will head to Kentucky without going back to Japan.
53... Jamie Richards
New Zealand: Champion Trainer Jamie Richards brought the curtain down on his NZ career in style last Wednesday with a treble at Matamata climaxing in Ragamuffin’s victory in a race named in his honour. The 3yo gelding won the Good Luck Hong Kong Bound Jamie Richards Handicap as the 32yo saddled horses at home for the last time before moving to Hong Kong, where he is to start training next season. Richards has landed 53 Group One wins in six and a half years with a licence for the powerful Te Akau Racing team. Among his stable stars have been Melody Belle, 14 times a Group One winner, the brilliant Te Akau Shark and Probabeel, the current NZ Horse of the Year.
63... Dylan Davis
USA: A first for jockey Dylan Davis, who captured the first riding title of his career with 63 wins at the 2021/22 Aqueduct winter meet that ran from 9 December to 27 March. Davis, 27, rode nine more winners than runner-up Trevor McCarthy. Leading trainer at New York’s winter home was Rudy Rodriguez with 33 wins. He was winning his 13th trainers’ title overall, 11 of them coming at the Big A.