Racing

Soumillon sets new European record with 306 winners

Two-time Arc winner crowned champion jockey in France for ninth time

Two-time Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winning jockey Christophe Soumillon has set a new European mark for winners in a calendar year with 306.

The 36-year-old Belgian-born France-based star on Thursday achieved both his goals last year of winning a ninth French jockeys title and breaking Pierre-Charles Boudot's record of 300 winners set in 2016.

Soumillon rode almost daily riding in 1,635 races - a distance of over 3,000 kilometres - on 965 different horses.

"I have maintained a crazy rhythm," said Soumillon.

"From Jan 1 (last year), I have put French racecourses at the top of my priorities.

"I have ridden each horse as if they were running on the weekend of the Arc de Triomphe (French racing's most high-profile weekend)."

Soumillon won Europe's most prestigious race - the Arc - on Dalakhani in 2003 and on remarkable filly Zarkava in 2008.

Soumillon, who is married to a former Miss France, said it was simple to nominate which victory meant the most to him.

"The 301st which I won at the Lyon La Soie racecourse (on Dec 16) because all my family and friends were there to share my joy in what was a crazy atmosphere."

Soumillon, whose annus memorabilis saw him also break the century mark for Group 1 winners when he rode Shakeel to victory in the Grand Prix de Paris, rounds off a record-breaking year for flat racing.

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien broke the late American Bobby Frankel's 14-year-old world record of 25 Group/Grade 1 wins in a year when Saxon Warrior won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, England, on Oct 28, and ended up with 28 in all. - AFP

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