Christophe Lemaire beats Yutaka Take's record for most wins in a year

Christophe Lemaire broke Yutake Take's Japanese record for most wins in a year aboard Maillot Blanc in the sixth race at Nakayama on Friday.

Take's record of 212, set in 2005, was matched in the fourth race and eclipsed in the sixth, as Lemaire guided the white Maillot Blanc to victory on the dirt.

The jockey, who would make it 215 for the season after another two wins, began riding in Japan in 2002, initially under a short-term licence. The official JRA season is over, but Lemaire will ride in the Grade 1 Tokyo Daishoten on Saturday.

He said: "This year has been the best year for me and I still can't believe it.

"I have studied Japanese racing very hard, but this record has happened thanks to the owners, trainers, my family and the many fans who have supported me."

He added: "I would like to mention Yutaka Take. He's the real legend. I'm only a common man!"

This year's jockeys' totals

Christophe Lemaire 215, Mirco Demuro 153, Keita Tosaki115, Yuichi Fukunaga 103, Yuga Kawada 93

His mount in the feature Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes on Friday, Admire Justa, narrowly missed the target, finishing second to the favourite Saturnalia.

Only last Sunday Lemaire had toppled Take's prize-money earnings record, which Take had also set in 2005, when sailing past the mark of Y4414,042,000. Lemaire has since moved on to Y4,660,235,000 (£33.3m/€36.9m).

The 39-year-old has enjoyed an all-round stellar year on top of breaking Take's records. That has been down in no small part to the exploits of Almond Eye, who won the fillies' triple crown before taking the Japan Cup. 

Although best known for his big-race victories in Japan these days, Lemaire has also enjoyed plenty of success elsewhere. He won the Melbourne Cup on Dunaden in 2011 and British Classics on French-trained pair Natagora, who won the 1,000 Guineas in 2008, and Makfi, who took the 2,000 Guineas two years later.

Previous Flat jockeys' title winners

2017 Christophe Lemaire 199

2016 Keita Tosaki 187

2015 Keita Tosaki 130

2014 Keita Tosaki 146

2013 Yuichi Fukunaga 131

2012 Suguru Hamanaka 131

2011 Yuichi Fukunaga 133

2010 Norihiro Yokoyama 120

2009 Hiroyuki Uchida 146

2008 Yutaka Take 143