Elliott's numbers game paying dividends as he chases trainers' title
Gordon Elliott sent out a staggering total of 1,099 runners during 2016, 542 more than Willie Mullins and 431 more than champion Flat trainer Aidan O'Brien.
The final quarter of the year was another extremely busy one for Elliott as he had 394 runners between October, November and December. The highlight of that spell were the Grade 1 victories of Apple's Jade (Hatton's Grace Hurdle) and Outlander (Lexus Chase) as the numbers game continued to pay dividends for the man setting the pace at the top of the Irish trainers' championship.
"We've managed to be consistent throughout the year, which is very important, and I have a great team here. Without the help of everyone, and such hard-working staff, there is no way we would be able to sail such a big ship," Elliott said.
Champion Flat jockey Pat Smullen was the busiest rider in 2016 with 672 rides, 82 more than Colin Keane, who chased him in the race for the Flat jockeys' title in 2016.
It may come as a surprise to some to learn Sean Flanagan was the most wanted jump jockey in Ireland for the final quarter of last year.
The average prize-money per race in the final quarter of 2016 fell by €618.08 compared to the same period in 2015, but the average field size increased to 12.05 from 10.8.
Dundalk, Ireland's only all-weather venue, is obviously serving its purpose as the average field size for Flat races in the final quarter rose quite significantly to 13.25 from 11.4 in 2015.