Five finalists announced for the prestigious Racehorse of the Year Award

The five elite equine athletes in contention for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year Award have been revealed by Racing Victoria ahead of the star-studded Victorian Racing Awards, held this Saturday night (7 September) at Crown Aviary.

Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) hero Cross Counter, the pride of Tasmania Mystic Journey, sprinting superstar Santa Ana Lane, flying filly Sunlight and last year’s winner, the mighty mare Winx, are all in the running to claim the coveted title.

Cross Counter’s devastating turn of foot ended the British drought in the Melbourne Cup, as jockey Kerrin McEvoy and trainer Charlie Appleby combined to deliver a first success in ‘the race that stops a nation’TM for the powerful Godolphin operation.

Mystic Journey, an $11,000 purchase, took her career earnings past the $3 million mark after following up her breakthrough at the elite level in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington with another superb victory over the same course and distance two weeks later, this time in the inaugural edition of The All-Star Mile.

The triumph extended her winning streak to six races and confirmed Adam Trinder’s filly as one of the country’s most exciting prospects. 

Santa Ana Lane’s pulsating win in the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival was his fourth at Group 1 level, sealed with a signature late burst to defeat In Her Time by half-a-length. 

Sunlight won more Group 1s than any other sprinter last season, starting with the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day. She followed up that narrow success with another win over the same course and distance in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap, this time with Osborne Bulls chasing her home, before taking out the final Group 1 of the 2018-19 season in Victoria, the Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley. 

The final contender for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year needs no introduction, having taken equine excellence to unprecedented heights last season. 

On Saturday, 27 October 2018, Winx achieved what no other had managed in the 98-year history of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) by winning Australia’s weight-for-age championship for a fourth time. 

It came three weeks after her win in the Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and guaranteed her place in the annals of Australian racing. 

All horses are judged on their performances on Victorian tracks only across the 2018-19 racing season, irrespective of where they are trained. The five finalists received the most votes from the 50-strong voting panel, comprising members of the racing media.

The winner of the Victorian Racehorse of the Year will be feted at Saturday’s Victorian Racing Awards, hosted by and Channel 7 presenter, Jason Richardson.