Weir adds to champion status with record 400th win for season

MODERN MILESTONE: Ancient King (John Allen) leaps his way to victory in Ballarat on Thursday and with it gives Ballarat trainer Darren Weir his 400th win of the season. Picture: Getty Images
MODERN MILESTONE: Ancient King (John Allen) leaps his way to victory in Ballarat on Thursday and with it gives Ballarat trainer Darren Weir his 400th win of the season. Picture: Getty Images

Darren Weir became the first Australian thoroughbred horse trainer to achieve 400 wins in a season on Thursday.

And appropriately he brought up the milestone on his home track in Ballarat.

Ancient King, with stable jockey John Allen in the saddle, earned a special place in Weir's growing list of achievements by bringing up the historic mark in the E-Cycle Solutions Benchmark120 Hurdle, 3200m.

Weir has taken training to new heights over the past two years to become one of the modern day greats in Australian racing.

He set a new Commonwealth training record for wins in a season with 348 Australia-wide last season.

The Ballarat horseman eclipsed the previous mark of 334 set by John Hawkes, which had stood for 13 years.

He achieved that in mid-July, but this season he still has more than a month to go and could set a standard even he might have trouble replicating.

Weir's numbers this season:

NATIONALLY

Total: 400 (16.5% strike rate)

Metropolitan: 152 (14.9)

Country: 248 (17.7)

VICTORIA

Total: 370 (16.4)

Metropolitan: 122 (14.2)

Country: 248 (17.7)

Weir has gradually built up his output since relocating from Stawell to Ballarat in 2001 - training 100 winners more in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

2016-17 - 400

2015-16 - 348

2014-15 - 298

2013-14 -253

2012-13 - 184

2011-12 - 174

2010-11 - 136

2009-10 - 119

2008-09 - 112

2007-08 - 113

2006-07 - 123

2005-06 - 127

2004-05 - 101

2003-04 -51

2002-03 -100

John Allen said it had been big team effort from all staff to reach 400.

"It's been a great season."

He said he was always "pretty" confident on Ancient King, which had now won three hurdle races in a row.

"He's pretty cruisy and travelled well."