Day At The Track

Avonnova wins Qld Harness Horse of the Year

06:45 PM 31 Oct 2016 NZDT
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Avonnova wins third consecutive Qld Harness Horse of the Year
Avonnova wins third consecutive Qld Harness Horse of the Year

Queensland harness racing heavyweight Avonnova has won the Queensland Harness Horse of the Year title for a record-breaking third time in a row.

Announced at the 2016 Queensland Harness Racing Awards at Kedron Wavell Services Club, the 10-year-old gelding also won the 2016 Queensland Pacer of the Year and 2016 Queensland Aged Horse of the Year awards.

Owner / Trainer Ian Gurney accepted the awards on behalf of co-owner Paul Montgomery.

Avonnova has provided a great ride for Gurney and Montgomery who bought the gelding from New South Wales in October 2013 and has now won nearly $400,000 in prize money for the pair.

Avonnova beat impressive horses such as Catcha Lefty (2YO Pacer of the Year), Park Life (3YO Pacer of the Year) and Our Overanova NZ (Queensland Trotter of the Year) to take out the Horse of the Year award.

Shane Graham won the Queensland Driver’s Premiership for the second year in succession, adding the 2016 Albion Park and Redcliffe Premiership titles to his trophy cabinet.

Graham, who was runner up on the National Driver’s Premiership, scored his biggest success in the $322,000 Group One Australian Pacing Gold Final with Park Life.

Grant Dixon won the 2016 Queensland Trainer’s Premiership for a fifth year in a row, an outstanding achievement which he matched at a national level.

Dixon also won the Albion Park and Redcliffe Trainer’s Premiership with 246 winners.

Amongst Dixon’s many fantastic achievements was a Group One double on 28 May when Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks were both successful in their respective QBRED Triad Finals.

Nathan Dawson capped a great season collecting the 2016 Concession Driver of the Year Premiership and the 2016 Queensland Young Achiever of the Year (Male).

Dawson, Queensland’s busiest concession driver, finished the season with a career best 91 wins and also took out the Marburg Driver’s Premiership.

Isobel Ross was crowned the 2016 Queensland Young Achiever of the Year (Female), finishing the season with 50 wins, more than double her previous career best, a significant achievement considering she missed a portion of the season due to a wrist injury.

Solid Earth Pty Ltd, for Kevin and Kay Seymour and their daughter Leigh Fullager, collected both the 2016 Queensland Breeder of the Year and Owner of the Year titles after another dominant season.  As owners, Solid Earth completed the season with more than double the number of winners of any other owner or group of owners in Queensland.

Amongst its many highlights was a Group One double with Get In The Groove and Frankie Rocks in their respective QBRED Triad Finals, and a Group Three double in Victoria when Frankie Rocks and Cherish The Moment claimed the Australasian Breeder’s Crown Consolation Finals.

There were four inductees into the Queensland Harness Racing Hall of Fame on the night.

The prestigious honour was given to champion Queensland race horse Peter Profit, Noel and Christine Denning’s Burwood Stud, champion race horse and brood mare Lefty, and Don Ross Snr for his outstanding service to the industry as Clerk of the Course.

Peter Profit

Champion Queensland race horse Peter Profit was inducted into the Queensland Hall Of Fame, recognising his outstanding career which is fondly remembered by many within the industry across Australia.

Born in 1966 Peter Profit was a Queensland hero winning 43 races at Albion Park and was a dual winner of the Albion Park 10,000.  Peter Profit won 45 races when trained by Frank Donohoe whose son Alan Donohoe drove the harness great to a few wins in his early career.

Peter Profit, by the great James Scott, retired at the age of 13 with a personal best time of 2:01:5 and prize money worth $61,643 regarded as a true legend of the sport.

Margaret Donohoe accepted this prestigious award on behalf of his connections.

Burwood Stud

The Denning family was honoured with Hall of Fame induction in the breeding category.  Noel and Christine Denning’s Burwood Stud located at Pittsworth was established in 1982 on 615 hectares of fertile land.

The Denning family has built this business from the ground up and can lay claim to be the leading standardbred stud in Queensland. 

Continuing to evolve with the times, Burwood Stud offers the latest technological advancements for foaling, catering for permanently agisted mares and their offspring, as well as short-term visiting mares.

Burwood Stud has continually stood quality stallions over the years and offers a wide variety of stallions from all over the world through its semen transport service and currently stands three standardbred stallions on their property.

Horses bred at Burwood have won the last four Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series Finals and are producing winners in Queensland, interstate and New Zealand. 

The time, effort, sponsorship and results of Burwood bred over many years ensure the Denning family are worthy inductees into the Queensland Hall of Fame.


The former outstanding race mare Lefty was the first broodmare inducted into Queensland’s Hall of Fame.

After a career that produced 17 wins from 67 starts and $117,033 in prize money, and highlights of the 1997 2YO QBRED Final and four metropolitan wins, Lefty retired in 2000 for a career at stud. 

Lefty produced 11 foals which have all won races.

  • 2001 Chucka Lefty (9 wins, $51,410)
  • 2002 Shes A Lefty (10 wins, 102,396, QBRED 2YO Triad & Breeders Classic winner, dam of 2 winners)
  • 2003 Lotsa Lefty (4 wins, $17,996, dam of a winner)
  • 2004 Another Lefty (7 wins, $24,500)
  • 2007 Major Lefty (17 wins, $88,685)
  • 2008 Just A Lefty (9 wins, $29,175)
  • 2009 Royal Lefty (2 wins, $9431)
  • 2010 Feelin Good Lefty (2 wins, $11,696)
  • 2011 Bring On Lefty (7 wins, $42,208)
  • 2012 Catcha Lefty (13 wins, $170,523, QBRED 2YO Breeders Classic, Queensland Derby)
  • 2013 Lucky Lefty (1 win, $3,215)

Lefty unfortunately passed away at the age of 22 this year.

The award was accepted by her breeder, owner and trainer Cristina Monte.

Don Ross Snr 

Don Ross Snr has provided outstanding service to the industry as a Clerk of the Course where he is considered a leader in his field.

Don has also offered outstanding support assisting many industry participants with their horses in many areas including organising mares for surrogate breeding.

Don is famous for providing his Chariots for Shows and movie work with the Chariot races, formerly held at the Brisbane Exhibition and is fondly remembered by all who witnessed his great horsemanship.

Don is an absolute gentleman and friend of so many in the harness racing industry, and continues to provide fantastic service at the age of 82.

His family is following in his footsteps, including son Don and grandson Donald, who are continuing the quality family horsemanship as Clerks of the Course with granddaughter Isobel also training as a Red Coat while developing a successful career as a harness driver.

The full list of winners from last night's 2016 Queensland Harness Racing Awards;


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