Day At The Track

Most harness racing awards clear cut

12:22 PM 09 Aug 2015 NZST
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Chase The Dream - Voted the two year old colt/gelding of the year for the 2014/2015 season
Chase The Dream - Voted the two year old colt/gelding of the year for the 2014/2015 season

Only one category tested the judges in the annual harness racing awards on a night where the industry honoured a bunch of super talented horses.

Star pacers Dream About Me, The Orange Agent, Adore Me and Have Faith In Me, who were the toast of the 350-strong Christchurch audience on Saturday night, took a clean sweep of the 25 votes cast, with Sky Major inexplicably stealing one vote from Christen Me in the four-year-old and older section.

But the votes were well split between three outstanding two-year-old colts and geldings, with the Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen-trained Chase The Dream (11 votes), outpointing his stablemates Waikiki Beach (7) and Lazarus (7).

Chase The Dream, with Group I wins in the Young Guns Final and Sires' Stakes, obviously had the home plate advantage with the deeds of Waikiki Beach, unbeaten in 10 starts, almost exclusive to Australia.

With Group I scalps in the Australian Pacing Gold and NSW Breeders Challenge, Waikiki Beach won four more races than Chase The Dream and banked $324,081 to Chase The Dream's $212,026.

It reflected the strength of the crop that Lazarus, with six wins from eight starts and $265,562 in stakes, including the Group I Harness Jewels in 1:52.9, was an also-ran.

And it also reflected the dominance of the season for Purdon and Rasmussen that four of the six pacing category winners came from their All Stars Stables.

The voting was clearcut in all the trotters' categories, Speeding Spur and Conon Bridge capturing all 25 votes while one vote for Jewels winner Missandei stopped juvenile High Gait from getting a perfect score and one judge gave King Denny the nod over Stent, the winner of seven Group I races and $640,000 in the four-year-old and older section.

The only conceivable excuse could be that they didn't turn the page on HRNZ's performance sheets and missed seeing the feats of Sheemon and Stent, although how the person could have forgotten the extraordinary feats of Stent beggars belief.

Kincaslough (22) and Sunny Ruby (21) completed the list of trotting winners.

Stent was a unanimous choice for trotter of the year while Christen Me (13) triumphed in the pacer of the year, losing six votes to champion mare Adore Me and two to Have Faith In Me.

The judges were also split on overall Harness Horse of the Year, Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup winner Christen Me (13) outpointing New Zealand Cup heroine Adore Me (6), Stent (4) and dual Derby winner Have Faith In Me (2).

Other awards:

Owner: Trevor Casey.

Breeder: Charlie Roberts.

Broodmare: Scuse Me.

Stallion: Bettor's Delight.

Trainer: Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Driver: Dexter Dunn.

Junior driver: Stevie Golding 

Cadet: Sean Grayling.

Outstanding contribution: John Reedy.

Barry Lichter

Reproduced by permission of Stuff NZ - Check site here

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