Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby (Image: Racing Photos)

Charlie Appleby, one of five finalists for the Fred Hoysted Medal

Five finalists revealed for the coveted Fred Hoysted Medal

The five trainers in the running to receive the prestigious Fred Hoysted Medal at the Victorian Racing Awards, which will take place this Saturday night (7 September) at Crown Aviary, have been announced today by Racing Victoria (RV).

Fred Hoysted’s training record is unparalleled in the history of Victorian racing, having won a record 17 premierships between 1933 and 1958, and the horsemen in contention to claim the award named in his honour are (in alphabetical order): Charlie Appleby, Tony McEvoy, Patrick Payne, Adam Trinder and Chris Waller.

Of the thousands of training performances on Victorian racetracks last season, the following five were considered the most outstanding by the judging panel, comprising members of the racing media:

  • Charlie Appleby became the first English trainer to win the Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) when Cross Counter passed more rivals in the straight than any Cup winner since Kiwi, in 1983. It was only the gelding’s eighth start, making him the most lightly-raced Melbourne Cup winner in 86 years. Cross Counter’s triumph was Godolphin's 30th Group 1 success in 2018, and ended the global stable’s 20-year wait for their breakthrough in ‘the race that stops a nation’. 

  • Sunlight became the first three-year-old filly since Alinghi, in 2005, to win the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington. Tony McEvoy backed his instincts when he booked the former Singapore-based, South African-born Barend Vorster to partner the flying filly who, despite winning the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over the same course and distance in the spring, was sent out a $13 chance. She hit the front and held on bravely to defeat the hot favourite Osborne Bulls by three-quarters of a length.
  • Having come agonisingly close to winning the 2018 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m), Patrick Payne’s grand old warrior Zed Em turned the tables on Gold Medals to claim this year’s renewal. The New Zealand-bred nine-year-old carried 70kg over 34 fences in the feature race of the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival to record a fourth Grand Annual Steeplechase success in seven years for his canny trainer.

  • Two weeks after claiming her maiden Group 1 in the Australian Guineas (1600m), the pride of Tasmania Mystic Journey returned to Flemington for the inaugural running of the world’s richest mile race, The All-Star Mile. Despite having trained her to peak for the Guineas, Adam Trinder was able to extend her autumn campaign for one more run and the flying filly delivered in style, seeing off the Godolphin duo of Hartnell and Alizee to claim the $2.25 million winner’s cheque.
  • Winx’s three consecutive wins in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) equalled the heroics of Kingston Town (1980-82), but her trainer Chris Waller – resisting the lure of sending his magnificent mare overseas – set his sights on an unprecedented fourth victory in Australia’s weight-for-age championship. Showing remarkable poise despite the intense pressure, Waller guided his most precious commodity through another unbeaten spring campaign which culminated in her historic triumph at The Valley on October 27, 2018.   
The Fred Hoysted Medal, open to both domestic and international trainers, has been won by some of Australia’s leading horsemen including ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings, Lee Freedman, the Lindsay Park stable and, most recently, by Waller for his success with Winx in the 2017 Cox Plate.

A selection committee, comprising members of the Australian Trainers’ Association and RV Handicapping Panel, put forward 20 training performances from across the 2018-19 season for consideration.

That number was subsequently reduced to five by a panel of 50 voters, made up of members of the racing media.

The Fred Hoysted Medal winner will be unveiled during Saturday night’s Victorian Racing Awards, which will be hosted by Channel 7 and Racing.com presenter, Jason Richardson. 

Other awards presented during the ceremony include: the Scobie Breasley Medal, which recognises excellence in race riding over the Victorian flat racing season; the Colin Alderson Rising Star Award, open to Victorian trainers aged 40 years or younger and with no more than seven seasons’ experience; and the Tommy Corrigan Medal, awarded to the leading jumps jockey in Victoria and South Australia.