Locals Shine at NZ Racing Awards


Cambridge racing and breeding made a huge impact at Hastings last Friday night.
The annual NZTR Racing Awards were dominated by Cambridge horses and personalities at the prestigious black tie affair.
Cambridge scooped nine of the twenty awards presented on the evening.
Whilst local Hawkes Bay superstar Jimmy Choux was named NZTR Horse of the Year, Cambridge had much to be proud of.
Local nursery Windsor Park Stud led the way with resident stallion Thorn Park, sire of Jimmy Choux,  picking up the Grosvenor Stallion Award for highest NZ  stake earnings.
Former Windsor Park shuttle stallion High Chaparral, sire of dual Cox Plate winner So You Think, won the Dewar Award for highest NZ and Australia combined stake earnings.   
Triassic, dam of So You Think won Broodmare of the Year for local breeders Piper Farm (Alex and Cecile Smith) and Mike Moran.
Long time racing journalist Mike Dillon, was the Media Award recipient.
A delighted Dillon dedicated his win to his colleagues in the print media.
“Many people wouldn’t know the difficultly we have trying to get more space in newspapers to write about horse racing” Dillon said.
Some say there is no such thing as a certainty in this game……..but actually there is.
As expected local boom jockey James McDonald won the Jockey of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.
McDonald dominated the premiership with a new record of 207 wins for the season, the first NZ jockey to ride 200 winners in a season.
McDonald’s services are being keenly sought throughout Australiasia and it is a matter of time before he heads off shore.
Joining McDonald was local Jumps Jockey Richard Cully  who headed off Shelley Houston and Isaac Lupton for a popular win.
The amicable Irishman has been a regular visitor to NZ over the Jumps season and has met with considerable sucess from his Cambridge base.
Cully told the gathering he was thankful for all the support he has received.
“It’s always difficult getting established but my thanks go to Ross Elliott, ( now in Australia) who talked me into coming here” said Cully.  
Michael Pitman won the Dunstan Trainer’s Award but mention must be made of Murray and Bjorn Baker.
The father and son training partnership had another successful year with VRC Derby winner Lion Tamer and dual Group One winner We Can Say It Now leading the charge.
The Baker’s were again the leading Cambridge Trainer’s for last season.
Another short priced favourite to win on the night was Anabandana.
The brilliant two year old filly got the maximum votes from the judging panel in taking out the award.
Trained by Don Sellwood for owner Chris Grace, Anabandana won the two Group One races in her juvenile season.
A brilliant win in the Group Two Matamata Breeders Stakes further cemented her top billing.
Judging by her appearance at the Cambridge trials last week, she looks ready for another big season.
The last of the Cambridge winners on the night was Showcause who picked up the Stayer of the Year award.
Showcause won the NZ Cup, City of Auckland Cup, Avondale Cup and was a close second in the Auckland Cup.
Trainer Frank Ritchie spoke of the syndicate members who race Showcause.
“For some of them, this is their first horse, so they are having a great deal of fun” said Ritchie.  
Congratulations to all the local winners …….they certainly deserved it!
I’ll catch you next week.