Cambridge in line for more awards

Mongolian Khan who is on target to pick up his second Champion Stayer award and is a serious contender for a second Horse Of The Year title.  (Photo: Wally O'Hearn)

Mongolian Khan, who is on target to pick up his second Champion Stayer award and is a worthy contender for a second Horse Of The Year title. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn)

The Cambridge centre can get ready for some celebrating on Sunday night at the 2016 NZ Thoroughbred Horse Of The Year Awards dinner in Auckland.

Cambridge is once again strongly represented in many categories and looks on target to continue its prominence at the awards functions.

Mongolian Khan took all before him last year when winning the Champion Three-Year-Old and Champion Stayer Awards as well as the big one, the Horse Of The Year.

The new boy at Windsor Park Stud is again a leading candidate for the Stayer Of The Year on the strength of his huge win in the Caulfield Cup, an effort which makes him a strong contender again for the Horse Of The Year title.

His stablemate Turn Me Loose is a candidate for in two categories – Champion Sprinter and Champion Middle-Distance Horse – and his two Group One wins in Australia, plus his other top efforts at the best level should see him a serious prospect for the Horse Of The Year award.

Addictive Habit, from Lee Somervell’s stable, is a rival for Turn Me Loose in the Champion Middle Distance Horse award on the strength of his wins in the Gr. 1 Livamol Classic and Gr. 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile.

Luna Rossa, yet another stablemate of Mongolian Khan and Turn Me Loose during the past season, is in the running for the Champion Two-Year-Old award on the strength of his Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes win, while he faces strong opposition in this category from the Tony Pike-trained Group One winner Sacred Elixir.

Cambridge has four thoroughly worthy candidates in the Champion Three-Year-Old category, including the Pike-trained Queensland Oaks winner Provocative and her stablemate, NZ Derby winner Rangipo, who took all before him on the way to his Group One win.

Tavago, such a dominant winner of the Gr. 1 Australian Derby for Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, is also a serious candidate for the award, while Sofia Rosa, from Stephen Marsh’s barn, also shone in Sydney, winning the Gr. 1 ATC Oaks, to warrant her place among the finalists.

Sofia Rosa is guaranteed of one award on the night, having won the NZ Bloodstock Filly Of The Year title, while on the jumping front Jack Romanov, prepared by Mark Brooks, did the district proud when winning the Pakuranga Hunt Cup and Meadow Fresh Great Northern Steeplechase to be a top prospect for the Champion Jumper award.

Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were named Champion Trainers at last year’s function and are in the running for a repeat, following the deeds of a host of top-class performers including finalists Mongolian Khan, Turn Me Loose and Luna Rossa.

Baker and Forsman fell one short of a century of New Zealand wins last term, but did manage eight black-type wins and over $2 million on the home front, but far exceeded the highlights with their major successes in Australia, hauling in more than $A3 million in prizemoney.

Michael Mitchell is also back among the finalists for Champion Jumps Jockey after winning the title last season and The Oaks Stud, Sir Peter Vela and Raffles Dancers are among the candidates for the Owner Of The Year award.

Sir Patrick and Justine Hogan are in the frame for the Breeder Of The Year through the major success of Tarzino, Tavago and Preferment and they are joined by the Hawkins family’s Llanhennock Trust (Kermadec and Valley Girl).

George Simon, a past president of the Cambridge Jockey Club, and his wife, Maryanne, are finalists for the Broodmare Of The Year award through Indomitable, the dam of Turn Me Loose.

With such an array of Cambridge stars being recognised, there should be plenty of awards brought back to the district after the trip to Auckland.