Winx has tonight joined Black Caviar and Sunline in the exclusive club of three-time winners of the Australian Racehorse of the Year, having claimed the premier award at a star-studded ceremony at Forum Melbourne.
The world’s highest-rated horse, who will attempt to extend her record winning sequence to 28 races in Saturday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, took home three prizes to add to her bulging trophy cabinet, having also claimed the 2017/18 Victorian Racehorse of the Year and Champion Middle Distance awards.
Her trainer Chris Waller, regular jockey Hugh Bowman and co-owners Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke were all on stage to accept the awards on behalf of the mighty mare, who was the runaway winner of all three categories after winning eight straight races during the 2017/18 season – six of them at Group 1 level.
Waller also received the Bart Cummings Award for the most Group 1 winners (13) trained in the season; whilst Bowman was presented with the equivalent award for jockeys, having registered nine wins at the elite level.
The six remaining awards were spread evenly across other stables, with Estijaab named Champion Two-Year-Old after her dominant win in this year’s Golden Slipper for the Hawkes training team.
Anthony Freedman’s Shoals, who won Group 1 races in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, saw off some stiff competition to land the prize for Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
The Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding award went the way of the Gerald Ryan-trained Trapeze Artist, a winner of three Group 1s including the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Trapeze Artist was also a finalist in the Champion Sprinter category but missed out to Redzel, last year’s Everest conqueror who is saddled by Peter and Paul Snowden.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Rekindling landed the Champion Stayer award after delivering Melbourne Cup glory for Irishman Joseph O’Brien, who became the youngest trainer to win Australia’s most famous race.
Gold Medals was a worthy winner of the Champion Jumper award, having registered back-to-back victories in the Brierly Steeplechase and the Grand Annual Steeplechase during Warrnambool’s May Racing Carnival for his local trainer, Symon Wilde.
The other trophy handed out on the night was for Champion Sire of the Year, which went to Snitzel whose progeny – including Redzel and Trapeze Artist – amassed more than $29.1 million in prizemoney during the 2017/18 racing season.
The main categories were voted on by 50 of the nation’s racing media and handicappers, with the winner receiving the highest number of votes, awarded on a 3-2-1 basis. The awards take into account performances on Australian racetracks, as well as international performances by Australian-trained horses, for the period from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018.
The top-five votegetters in each category were as follows:
Australian Racehorse of the Year
40 Happy Clapper
35 Trapeze Artist
Australian Champion Middle Distance
72 Happy Clapper
21 Gailo Chop
12 Tosen Stardom
Australian Champion Two-Year-Old
86 Written By
Australian Champion Three-Year-Old Filly
18 She Will Reign
Australian Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding
134 Trapeze Artist
48 Ace High
33 Merchant Navy
Australian Champion Sprinter
77 Trapeze Artist
57 Redkirk Warrior
28 Santa Ana Lane
8 Vega Magic
Australian Champion Stayer
51 Who Shot Thebarman
40 Johannes Vermeer
33 Ace High
Australian Champion Jumper*
30 Gold Medals
20 Self Sense
11 Zed Em
3 Cougar Express
Victorian Racehorse of the Year**
50 Redkirk Warrior
13 Written By
* Champion Jumper is voted on by a select panel of Victorian and South Australian media and handicappers on a 3-2-1 basis.
** Victorian Racehorse of the Year is voted on by 40 Victorian media and handicappers on a 3-2-1 basis and takes into account performances on Victorian racetracks only during the 2017-18 racing season.