FROM Frankel and Frankie Dettori on the Flat to a long-overdue Grand National win for Yorkshire, this has been a decade of racing to cherish and celebrate. Here are some personal highlights:
Trainer of the Decade
NUMERICALLY, this is Mark Johnston whose record-breaking training operation in Middleham has sent out 2,116 winners in the past decade.
No one in British racing has won more races than Johnston who overtook Richard Hannon’s record of 4,193 victories when Poet’s Society won at York’s 2018 Ebor festival under Frankie Dettori.
However, David O’Meara, who trains just outside York, deserves top honours. The former jump jockey, a new addition to the training ranks at the start of the decade, now has over 1,000 wins to his name. A multiple Group One winner at home, and abroad, the win of the Danny Tuidhope-ridden Lord Glitters in this year’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot proved O’Meara is the future.
Jockey of the Decade
A CLEAR winner – Paul Hanagan. Champion Flat jockey in 2010 and 2011 when both title races went down to the wire and left him exhausted, he swapped quantity for quality as retained rider to leading owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Classic success followed on Taghrooda in the 2014 Epsom Oaks – she was also a brilliant winner of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot – before Hanagan returned ‘home’ to Malton to resume his prolific partnership with his great friend and mentor Richard Fahey.
Hanagan has never been more content, even though his title-chasing days are over. He remains a gentleman who sets a fine example to young riders. This season, Brian Hughes will cap a decade of dominance if he becomes the North’s first champion jump jockey for 40 years.
Race of the Decade
PERSONAL favourites are Wakanda’s last-gasp win in the 2018 Sky Bet Trophy at Doncaster for trainer Sue Smith and Henry Brooke – this was a win for Yorkshire in a frantic five-way finish.
More recently, the Phil Kirby-trained Lady Buttons getting up on the line under Tommy Dowson to land Sunday’s Yorkshire Silver Vase on Town Moor. Her popularity continues to grow.
Both wins, settled by photo-finishes, pointed to the county’s continuing resurgence in National Hunt.
Yet, for pure equine brilliance and racing perfection, it has to be the win of the all-conquering Frankel in the 2012 Juddmonte International at York when the late Sir Henry Cecil’s champion for the ages made Group One champions look like plodders.
Horse of the Decade
A STRONG case can be made for Laurens who won six Group One races on the Flat for Leyburn trainer Karl Burke and owner John Dance.
She was a fantastic frontrunner for PJ McDonald – the former jump jockey is an unsung hero of the past 10 years.
However it is impossible to overlook Auroras Encore. Trained in the snow on a wind-swept Baildon Moor by Sue and Harvey Smith, this £9,000 rags to riches bargain buy was a runaway winner of the 2013 Grand National under Ryan Mania who was riding in the race for the first time.
The first Yorkshire victor since Merryman II as long ago as 1960, it was proof that dreams can still come true in a sport where glorious uncertainty is still the only certainty.