Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing, as well as Louis Romanet, Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), and Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, will take part in the award ceremony. As the Official Partner and Official Watch of the IFHA, Swiss watchmaker Longines and the IFHA conjointly created the Award of Merit in 2013 in order to honor public figures for their outstanding contribution to the world of horse racing.
A legend in Japan, Take made his riding debut in 1987. As of 11 December 2017, the Japan Racing Association credits him with 3,940 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, as well as the most earned prize money in a single year, with that figure standing at ¥4,414,042,000 (about USD$38,931,850).
"It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award," said Take. "As a jockey, I am happy to fly with a saddle back and forth locally as well as internationally as requested. It doesn't matter if there is a difference in the rules and language, I have been riding the same way everywhere, and therefore did not recognize that I was making a contribution to the achievement and improvement of global horse racing. If my attitude to horse racing has delivered me international recognition with this award, I will make a continuous effort to the development of global horse racing."
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.
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 on to be the premier sire in Japan. Currently, Take is known for riding Kitasan Black, the reigning Japanese Horse of the Year, whose final race will come in the Arima Kinen.
Take has also shown his abilities abroad. He has over 100 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), July Cup (England), Hong Kong Cup (Hong Kong), and Dubai Duty Free Stakes (UAE).
Previous winners of the Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit include the Romanet family, Jim Bolger, Alec Head, Seth Hancock, and the late Marcel Zarour Atanacio.
About the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA):
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).