Champion jockey Damien Oliver has embellished an already glittering career after claiming his 10th Scobie Breasley Medal at Saturday’s 2019 Victorian Racing Awards, held at Crown Aviary in Melbourne.
The Fred Hoysted Medal recognises the most outstanding individual training performance on Victorian tracks during the racing season with Winx’s trainer, Chris Waller, securing the award for the first time.
The Scobie Breasley Medal, which recognises excellence in riding during the racing season, was one of 13 awards handed out at the Victorian racing industry’s gala night, hosted by Channel 7 and Racing.com presenter Jason Richardson.
With votes lodged by Racing Victoria Stewards on 3-2-1 basis at each metropolitan race meeting during the 2018-19 season, the man known affectionately as “Ollie” was the winner of Victorian racing’s most prestigious prize polling 60 votes.
The 47-year-old secured victory from five-time Scobie Breasley medallist Craig Williams who took second place on 52 votes with Mark Zahra in third on 48. The 2016 medallist Dwayne Dunn and Luke Currie rounded out the top five vote-getters on 33 and 32 respectively.
Oliver’s triumph follows his previous wins in the inaugural 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2015 and 2018 Scobie Breasley Medals, and underlines his status as Australia’s most decorated living jockey.
The recently-retired wonder mare Winx was also honoured, taking out the Victorian Racehorse of the Year Award for the third consecutive year matching the feats of three-time winner Black Caviar (2011, 2012, 2013).
With the award recognising the best performer on Victorian racetracks during the 2018-19 racing season irrespective of where they’re trained, Winx received 114 votes from the panel, comprising members of the racing media.
Her nearest challenger was Tasmania’s inaugural The All-Star Mile winner Mystic Journey, who polled 52 votes and was followed in third by Tony McEvoy’s sprinting sensation Sunlight (47). Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Cross Counter (15) and VRC Sprint Classic winner Santa Ana Lane (12) completed the top five.
The panel of racing media, voting on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, recognised Waller’s performance to guide Winx to an historic fourth straight victory in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley as the standout of 2018-19.
Waller received 128 votes, 21 more than his closest rival, Mystic Journey’s trainer Adam Trinder who was recognised for her win in The All-Star Mile. Charlie Appleby, who delivered Godolphin a first success in the Lexus Melbourne Cup with Cross Counter, came third with 94 votes ahead of Tony McEvoy (Sunlight, Newmarket Handicap, 75) and Patrick Payne (Zed Em, Grand Annual Steeplechase, 44)
Emerging Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani was a deserving winner of the Colin Alderson Award, open to Victorian trainers aged 40 years or younger and with no more than seven seasons’ experience as a licensed trainer.
Cumani, whose father Luca was a champion trainer in the UK for many years, looks set to continue the family’s success after enjoying his best campaign to date, saddling 53 winners state-wide including 11 in the city.
Shane Jackson won his first Tommy Corrigan Medal, awarded to the leading jumps jockey of the season in Victoria and South Australia with votes lodged at each jumps meeting on a 2-1 basis by the stewards’ panel.
The Irish-born jockey, who formed a productive partnership with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable, amassed 19 votes – two more than 2017 runner-up Richard Cully. Eight-time Tommy Corrigan Medallist Steven Pateman was third on 15 votes, ahead of Tom Ryan (10) and Thomas Sadler (nine).
Two Victorian Jockeys’ Association peer-voted awards were also handed out on the night, with Damian Lane retaining his title as Victoria’s ‘Most Valuable Jockey’ after another stellar season in the saddle.
Apprentice jockey Michael Poy was voted by his fellow riders as the ‘Rising Star’ after a breakthrough season which saw him ride 79 winners across the state.
A son of Melbourne premiership-winning jockey Michael Clarke, Poy was also recognised for his maiden triumph in the Metropolitan Apprentice Jockeys’ Premiership after piloting 32 winners in Melbourne – 15 more than his nearest rival.
All 2018-19 premiership winners were celebrated during the star-studded ceremony, with Linda Meech feted for becoming the first female rider to claim the Victorian Jockeys’ Premiership after registering 139 wins across the state.
For the fourth year in succession, Craig Williams claimed the Roy Higgins Medal after enjoying his finest campaign to date, notching 83 metropolitan wins to secure another Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership.
Young gun Teo Nugent was also recognised for his first win in the Victorian Apprentice Jockeys’ Premiership with the 21-year-old amassing 86 winners across the state during the 2018-19 season.
The Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership was awarded to the Lindsay Park training partnership of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, who won a total of 64 races in town during the 2018-19 season. The trio also took the overall Victorian Trainers’ Premiership, with their 158 country winners taking the stable’s combined haul to 222 for the campaign.