Waller dominates Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards

3 min read
The grand night of Australian racing awards took place on Monday evening, with the Waller stable - both horse and human - dominating results.

The stable of champion trainer Chris Waller has dominated the Australian Racehorse of The Year Awards, with star mare Very Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}) claiming three different awards, including the main honour of the night, while Nature Strip (Nicconi) was again crowned Champion Sprinter Of the Year.

Waller also received the Bart Cummings Award and the TJ Smith Award as well as the award for being the leading Group 1 trainer, while Hungry Heart (Frankel {GB}) was crowned as Champion 3-year-old Filly and Waller employee Clare Heuston, the Sydney Strapper of the Year.

Verry Elleegant, winner of both the Champion Stayer and Champion Middle Distance categories, was an obvious choice as Australian Racehorse of the Year in a season where she won five Group 1 races, starting with the Winx S., then the Turnbull S., the Caulfield Cup, the Chipping Norton S. and the Ranvet S.

She becomes the first New Zealand-bred horse to win the Australian Racehorse of the Year Award since Sunline (NZ) (Desert Sun {GB}), who won it three years in a row, 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and 2001/2002.

It is the sixth successive time that a Waller-trained runner has won it after Winx's (Street Cry {Ire}) four successive wins were followed up by Nature Strip's success last year.

Nature Strip was not able to defend his title but as a winner of both the G1 Lightning S. and G1 TJ Smith S. was crowned Champion Sprinter for a second-straight season.

Waller's Yulong-bred and owned filly Hungry Heart was a winner of both the G1 Australian Oaks and G1 Vinery Stud S. in the autumn and fought off competition from the likes of stablemate September Run (Exceed And Excel), to be honoured as the Champion 3YO Filly.

The Champion 2YO Award went to G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Stay Inside (Extreme Choice). The Richard and Michael Freedman-trained star faced stiff competition in that category from the winners of the four other Group 1 juvenile races, Anamoe (Street Boss {USA}), Captivant (Capitalist), Converge (Frankel {GB}) and Artorius (Flying Artie) as well as several others.

Ole Kirk, the regally bred son of Written Tycoon who is now completing his first season at Vinery Stud, was confirmed as Champion 3YO Colt or Gelding off the back of his heroics last spring when he won both the G1 Golden Rose S. and the G1 Caulfield Guineas for trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes.

Also acknowledged at the ceremony was James McDonald as the leading Group 1-winning jockey and Written Tycoon as Australia's Champion Sire.

Horse of the Year
Verry Elleegant
Hungry Heart
Nature Strip
Clare Heuston
Written Tycoon
Ole Kirk
Stay Inside