As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Swiss watchmaker Longines was proud to present the 2017 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit to renowned Japanese jockey Yutaka Take. He succeeds previous recipients Jim Bolger, leading Irish trainer, owner and breeder; France’s Alec Head, past champion trainer and patriarch of prominent stud farm Haras du Quesnay; Seth Hancock of historic Claiborne Farm in America; the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio, former chairman of the South American Organization for the Promotion of Thoroughbreds (OSAF); and the Romanet Family, long renowned leaders in both the French and international world of horseracing.
The Award of Merit was created by Longines and the IFHA in order to honor public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing. As Official Partner and Official Watch of the IFHA, Longines additionally awards several other prizes in recognition of excellence in this discipline in collaboration with the IFHA. The winners are honoured throughout the year in ceremonies attended by representatives from across the entire profession.
During the Award of Merit ceremony, Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, stated: “Besides the Longines & IFHA Award of Merit, the successful collaboration between Longines and the IFHA has led to the creation of several other prizes awarded in recognition of excellence in all things equestrian, such as the Longines World’s Best Jockey, which was presented two weeks ago to the Australian jockey Hugh Bowman, as well as the Longines World’s Best Racehorse and the Longines World’s Best Horse Race, whose ceremony will take place in London on 23 January 2018. Whether horse, jockey, race or public figure, all have a role to play in making each event unique and truly breathtaking. Just like tonight, the winners are honoured in ceremonies attended by representatives from across the entire profession. For 140 years, our love for the equestrian world has steadily increased, and today we have become the main partner of international institutions and events in the disciplines of horseracing, show jumping, eventing, endurance, dressage and driving. More than that, our commitment to equestrian sports is based on common shared values: Elegance, Tradition and Performance.”
Louis Romanet, IFHA Chairman, commented: “Yutaka Take has demonstrated his incredible skills not only in Japan but around the world, and his consistency at the top levels of racing is evident in the number of Group 1 races he has won as well as participated in. Jockeys like Mr. Take are special ambassadors for our industry, and it’s with great esteem that we honor him with the 2017 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit for his great contribution and influence on the sport of horse racing.”
A legend in Japan, Yutaka Take made his riding debut in 1987 and currently holds seven all-time records in his native country. Born in 1969, Take followed in his father’s footsteps, as Kunihiko Take was also a famed jockey. In 1987, the younger Take notched his first career victory at Hanshin Racecourse aboard a horse named Dyna Bishop. He ended the season as the champion apprentice with 69 winners. Two years later, he was the overall champion jockey, and Take held that title continuously until 1999, with the exception of 1991.
As of 18 December, the Japan Racing Association credits him with 3,941 wins, of which 322 came in graded stakes, while 74 have come in Grade 1. Take has won at least one Grade 1 for 23 straight years and a graded stakes race for 31 consecutive years. He also has the most victories in a year: 212.
Although Take has ridden a number of champions, he is most associated with legendary racehorse and champion sire Deep Impact. The pair won a total of seven Grade 1 races, including the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown, and Deep Impact has gone to be the premier sire in Japan. Currently, Take is known for riding Kitasan Black, the reigning Japanese Horse of the Year.
Take has also shown his abilities abroad. He has 114 wins to his credit in eight different countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. A sampling of his international victories includes Group 1 wins in the Prix d'Ispahan (France) and Hong Kong Cup (Hong Kong), two races timed by Longines, the July Cup (England) and Dubai Duty Free Stakes (UAE).
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) is the world peak body for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing. Its 60 members are the national racing authorities across the globe which stage Thoroughbred races.
Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:
- Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering (the IABRW).
- Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
- International Race Planning and Grading (“black type”)
- World Rankings
- Equine Prohibited Substances and Practices
- Harmonization of Race Day Rules
- Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally
The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Longines has been based at Saint-Imier in Switzerland since 1832. Its watchmaking expertise reflects a strong devotion to tradition, elegance and performance. Longines has built solid and lasting ties with the world of sport over the years, with a wealth of experience as timekeeper for sports championships around the globe and a partner of numerous international sports federations. Renowned for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of Swatch Group Ltd., the world's leading watch manufacturer. Known by its winged hourglass logo, the brand is today present in over 150 different countries.