By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: – Astute racing aficionado Drew Forster brought up an interesting bit of trivia the other day. Noting Phil Hall’s mind-blowing 46 wins heading into this weekend, Forster mentioned he could never recall a trainer at Hastings finishing a season with more wins than the leading jockey.
Let the records show it has never happened, at least not in the past four decades.
But that could change this year if the current trend continues.
With the help from his crew that he regularly acknowledges – particularly daughter Sarah – Phil is a lock to capture his third consecutive Leading Trainer title.
In 165 starts at the close of business last week, Hall was sporting 46 wins with his closest competitor being Glen Todd with 22.
And getting to Forster’s point, the 46 wins by Team Hall was three more than leading jockey Enrique Gonzalez. It is conceivable – perhaps probable – that the way things have been going for Hall this season his winning record will surpass that of the eventual leading jockey.
According to available Hastings records dating back to 1976, no trainer has even come close to outscoring a rider in the win column.
Hall has already surpassed his winning race totals of 40 last year and 36 in 2017, not to mention where things count most: annual purse earnings. With a dozen racing dates to go, he was ahead of his 2018 earnings by more than $340,000.
That figure relates in no small measure to the fact Hall has bounded into the lucrative stakes winner’s circle 11 times this season, three with owner George Gilbert’s outstanding filly Summerland. The Hastings record for most stakes wins in a season continues to be held by Hall of Fame trainer Troy Taylor with 18 in 2012.
Even if Team Hall should run the table over the remaining stakes races on the current schedule, Taylor’s record would be safe.
For the benefit of statistical fanatics who eat these things up, the most single season wins by a trainer in modern history at Hastings stands at 76, set by Hall of Famer Lance Giesbrecht in 1997.
It wouldn’t appear Sir Lancelot need be too concerned about relinquishing that noble record just yet.