Yutaka Take on Saturday became the first rider to reach 4,000 winners on the JRA circuit, further enhancing his position as Japan’s greatest-ever jockey.
Yutaka Take steering Lani to victory in the 2016 UAE Derby, photo Liesl King
Take, 49, brought up the record with a treble at Hanshin, where huge crowds packed in to watch him achieve the feat on Meisho Kazuhime in a 6f allowance race on turf.
The benchmark was set by Take on his 21,235th ride, and the jockey said: "I am relieved I could achieve this record. I was able to do so because I have met many good people, and ridden many good horses, for many years. The owner of this horse [Yoshio Matsumoto] has supported us since my father's time, so I am very happy.
“This is not the end. I would like to ride more and to grow more as a jockey. As for my next target? I want to win the next race!"
Take, who last year received the Longines & IFHA International Award of Merit, has succeeded at the top level all over the world, winning races such as the July Cup (Agnes World), Prix de l’Abbaye (Agnes World, Imperial Beauty), Hong Kong Cup (A Shin Hikari) and Dubai Duty Free (Admire Moon).
However, it is in his homeland where he has been the dominant force and been associated with champions such as Deep Impact, Vodka and Kitasan Black.
Three of his best
Major wins: Japan Cup, Arima Kinen, Tenno Sho (Spring), Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Yushun, Kikuka Sho, Takarazuka Kinen
One of the greatest horses to have raced in Japan, Deep Impact was a dominant force in the country in the first decade of the 2000s. He became the first horse for 21 years to win Japan's Triple Crown and claimed Grade 1 races from ten furlongs to two miles, but failed in his bid to become the country's first Arc winner when only third to Rail Link in 2006 (subsequently disqualified for a banned substance).
Major wins: Yasuda Kinen, Victoria Mile, Tenno Sho (Autumn)
Blessed with an outstanding turn of foot, Vodka achieved a raft of notable feats during her career, including winning the Japanese Derby (Tokyo Yushun) and Japan Cup (first filly for 20 years to do so). Take was not aboard on those occasions but he did ride the filly to Grade 1 success, including in the prestigious Tenno Sho (Autumn) in 2008.
Major wins: July Cup, Prix de l'Abbaye
The trailblazing sprinter landed two of Europe's biggest sprints to supplement his victories at home, both times partnered by Japan's most famous rider. The Abbaye came first in 1999, when he scored on his first attempt at five furlongs. He returned to Europe the following year to claim the July Cup by two short heads from Lincoln Dancer and Pipalong in a super finish.