Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards
Fourteen-time Group One winning mare Winx was crowned Australia’s Champion Racehorse for the second straight year at the awards hosted by Racing Queensland in Brisbane on Sunday.
It comes as the Chris Waller-trained mare prepares to attempt winning a third-consecutive Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 28, following Saturday’s breathtaking win in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
Waller also claimed the Bart Cummings Award – named in honour of the late 12-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer – as the leading Group 1 winning trainer for 2016/17. Winx’s regular jockey Hugh Bowman won the Champion Group 1 Jockey Award.
Remarkably, Winx finished 115 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Hartnell, with Chautauqua, Black Heart Bart and Almandin rounding out the nominees.
Waller said it was Winx’s determination to “do her best” every time was her biggest attribute.
“We’re seeing it in each and every start now and the ride continues,” he said.
Sydney’s champion trainer said the nerves and excitement had gone to another level.
“There’s plenty of intensity because no longer is she just a horse the racing public know, she’s become a sporting icon and a public icon,” he said.
The good news didn’t stop there for Team Winx, with the mare also named Champion Middle Distance horse, finishing well ahead of Hartnell, Le Romain, Black Heart Bart, It’s Somewhat and Jameka.
Bowman said it was difficult to reflect on the mare’s achievements, with Saturday’s win still fresh in his mind.
“The time will come when her career is finished and I will then look back on it with a great deal of satisfaction and a great deal of pride,” he said.
The boy from Dunedoo had a season to savour in 2016/17, riding his way to 13 Group 1 wins in Australia and a further three abroad, including the Queensland Derby aboard Ruthven.
“Winx was obviously a significant contributor to that, but besides her I rode Jameka (BMW), Flying Artie (Coolmore Stud Stakes),” he said.
The Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua won his second consecutive Champion Sprinter Award, following a season which saw him claim a third consecutive TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick. Black Heart Bart polled second in the voting, with Le Romain and Maleguerra an Redzel earning special mentions.
Mick Price sprinter Flying Artie secured the Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding award, edging Godolphin’s Astern. Price’s other outstanding 3YO last season, Extreme Choice, joined Galaxy winner Russian Revolution and Stradbroke Hcp winner Impending as nominees.
It was also a golden night for the team at Darby Racing, with Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign claiming the coveted Champion 2YO Award. Shortly after, 2017 UBET Queensland Horse of the Year, Yankee Rose, was awarded Champion 3YO Filly.
Caulfield Cup winner Jameka claimed the Champion Stayer Award, while Kathryn Durden’s three-time Grand National winner, Wells, took home the Champion Jumper.
UBET 2017 Australian Racehorse of the Year Award Winners:
Racing Queensland Champion 2YO – She Will Reign
New Zealand Bloodstock Champion 3YO Filly – Yankee Rose
James Boag’s Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding – Flying Artie
International Animal Health Products Champion Sprinter – Chautauqua
Magic Millions Champion Middle Distance – Winx
Racing Queensland Champion Stayer – Jameka
Radio TAB Champion Jumper – Wells
UBET Australian Racehorse of the Year – Winx
The Courier-Mail Champion Group 1 Jockey – Hugh Bowman
The Bart Cummings Award (Sponsored by Sky Racing) – Chris Waller
HQ Insurance Champion Sire – Snitzel