Reigning champion among five contenders for Racehorse of the Year
The standout performers of the 2020-21 Victorian racing season will be recognised this Sunday night, 12 September when the 2021 Victorian Racing Awards are broadcast on Racing.com at 8pm (AET).
The special one-hour broadcast will feature 13 awards including the Scobie Breasley Medal, the Fred Hoysted Medal and the Victorian Racehorse of the Year Award. It will be televised free-to-air on Channels 68 and 78, on Foxtel Channel 529 and streamed live via the Racing.com digital platforms.
The Victorian Racing Awards had originally been scheduled to take place at Melbourne’s Crown Aviary last Saturday night, however the change to a studio broadcast was required due to ongoing COVID restrictions.
RV has today announced the five finalists for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year, all of whom were Group 1 winners during the 2020-21 season. The finalists, who are all in contention courtesy of their elite performances on Victorian racetracks, are (in alphabetical order) Arcadia Queen, Nature Strip, Russian Camelot, Twilight Payment and Verry Elleegant.
Nature Strip, whose thrilling win in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington was one of the highlights of the autumn, took the title last year but he faces stiff competition this time from a quality quartet which includes his stablemate, Verry Elleegant.
Chris Waller’s Kiwi-bred mare enjoyed a superb streak during the 2020 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, showing her customary toughness with back-to-back Group 1 wins in the TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and the Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Arcadia Queen and Russian Camelot, who have both since been retired to stud, also engaged in some memorable battles last spring, with the latter – trained by Danny O’Brien – striking the first blow in their head-to-head duel when he took out the Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
But Arcadia Queen gained her revenge in the Group 1 Neds Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield two weeks later, when she sailed past Russian Camelot in the home straight under regular jockey Willie Pike. The ‘wizard of the west’ was replaced in the saddle by Luke Currie in the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, when the daughter of Pierro claimed the third and final Group 1 of her glittering career.
Twilight Payment, who led all the way under Jye McNeil to deliver a second victory in the Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) for his Irish trainer Joseph O’Brien and a maiden Cup win for the young jockey, completes the set of finalists for the Victorian Racehorse of the Year Award.
The 13 awards featured on the night are as follows:
- The Scobie Breasley Medal, which recognises excellence in riding during the metropolitan flat racing season as voted by the panel of RV Stewards throughout the 2020-21 season;
- The Fred Hoysted Medal, which recognises a Victorian based trainer who has demonstrated excellence in the 2020-21 racing season. The recipient of this Award is judged by a panel of industry and media representatives taking into consideration their performances on the track and their overall contribution to the industry;
- The Victorian Racehorse of the Year Award, which recognises the most outstanding racehorse on Victorian racetracks during the 2020-21 racing season, irrespective of where the horse is trained. Voting is open to a selected group consisting of Victorian media, racecallers, members of RV’s handicapping panel and the Chairman of Stewards;
- The Colin Alderson Award, which recognises a Victorian based trainer with no more than seven racing seasons’ experience who has performed with distinction over the previous 12 months. The recipient of the Award, who is determined by a panel of industry and media representatives, must be no older than 40 years of age at the conclusion of the racing season and may be judged on their performances anywhere in the world throughout the 2020-21 racing season;
- The Tommy Corrigan Medal, awarded to the leading jumps jockey of the 2020-21 racing season in Victoria and South Australia as voted by the RV and Thoroughbred Racing South Australia Stewards;
- The Victorian Jockeys Association’s Most Valuable Jockey and Rising Star which are both peer voted awards; and
- The 2020-21 Premiership winners which include the Victorian Jockeys’ Premiership, Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership, Victorian Trainers’ Premiership, Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership, Victorian Apprentice Premiership and the Metropolitan Apprentice Premiership.