The powerful Clevedon combination of Barry Purdon and Zac Butcher won the major training and driving honours - while Purdon trained 3-year-olds also won two age-group titles at the 2014 A Rocknroll Dance North Island Harness Racing awards ceremony at Alexandra Park last night.
More than 300 people flocked to the Tasman Room to watch the 21 awards handed out.
Fifty nine-year-old Purdon won the Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm North Island Trainer of the Year, while 23-year-old Butcher won the IRT North Island Driver of the Year.
Their age group stars Sky Major and Ideal Belle won the Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3yo Colt/Gelding and Filly of the Year awards respectively.
Purdon trained Pembrook Benny, Sky Major, Maxim and Ideal Belle to Group One victories in 2013-2014.
Butcher also drove the Ray Green trained Beaudiene Boaz in the Harness Jewels 2yo Emerald Final at Cambridge Raceway.
Pembrook Benny won the NZ Free-For-All at Addington on November 15.
Sky Major cleaned up the 3yo Emerald Jewels Final at Cambridge on May 31.
Ideal Belle also won the New Zealand Oaks at Addington on May 16.
Maxim nailed the Victoria Derby at Melton on February 8. Sky Major was second.
The same two horses also produced the quinella in Group One Sires Stakes 2yo Final the season before.
“You are only as good as the team around you. This is an honour. We had a very good season and I’m grateful to all my staff for that,” Purdon said.
Purdon trained 39 winners from 199 starters last season and amassed $953,433 in stakes.
Butcher saluted the judge 72 times from his 551 drives. He banked $1.23m in purses.
“I drive to win and night’s like this are a real bonus.
I’m very proud to have won this award because there are so many good drivers out there.
“I am lucky to be part of a very strong stable. Barry is a legendary trainer,” Butcher said.
In other highlights Maurice McKendry won the Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farms NI Achievement Award, while Richard and Julija Brosnan won the night’s most prestigious (and final) award of the evening – the A Rocknroll Dance Alabar Nevele Stud NI Award for Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing.
Adore Me’s victories in the Group One $100,000 Queen Of Hearts Pace and the Group Three $30,000 Northern Breeders Stakes assured her the Auckland Trotting Club’s Aged Pace Of the Year title.
The Charlie Roberts co-owned and bred champ also won the Caduceus Club’s NI Filly/Mare of the Year.
In fact Roberts himself collected two awards winning the Garrards Horse and Hound NI Owner of the Year, and the Hygain NI Breeder of the Year
2014 A ROCKNROLL DANCE NORTH ISLAND HARNESS RACING AWARDS - WINNERS
Glen Elgin Farm North Island Groom of the Year - Amanda Kiddie
Dunstan North Island Amateur Driver of the Year -John Kriechbaumer
Magness Video Ltd / Vid-Com LtdNorth Island Licence to Train /Owner – Trainer of the Year - Andrew Grant
Mitavite North Island Junior Driver of the Year - Sailesh Abernethy
PGG Wrightson North Island 2 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year - Beaudiene Boaz
PGG Wrightson North Island 2 year old Filly of the Year - Linda Lovegrace
Breckon Farms North Island 2 year old Trotter of the Year - Yagunnakissmeornot
Breckon Farms North Island 3 year old Trotter of the Year - Mum’s Pride
Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3 year old Colt or Gelding of the Year - Sky Major
Crombie Lockwood Bloodstock North Island 3 year old Filly of the Year - Ideal Belle
Garrards Horse and Hound North Island Owner of the Year - Charles Roberts
Caduceus Club North Island Filly / Mare of the year - Adore Me
Hygain North Island Breeder of the Year - Charles Roberts
IRT North Island Driver of the Year - Zac Butcher
Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm North Island Trainer of the Year - Barry Purdon
Equine Veterinary Services North Island Broodmare of the Year - Scuse Me
North Island Stallion of the Year - Bettor’s Delight
Harness Racing New Zealand North Island Trotter of the Year - Irish Whisper
Auckland Trotting Club North Island Aged Pacer of the Year - Adore Me
Sir Lincoln at Lincoln Farms North Island Racing Achievement Award - Maurice McKendry
A Rocknroll Dance/Alabar/Nevele R Stud North Island Award for Outstanding Contribution to Harness Racing - Richard and Julija Brosnan
Courtesy Duane Ranger - Harness Racing New Zealand