Day At The Track

There was no catching this shark

06:35 AM 07 Nov 2016 NZDT
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Lennytheshark Victoria Cup 1_20160130.jpg
Lennytheshark with trainer David Aiken holding The Victoria Cup

The horse who has captivated a nation attracted the audience’s applause one more time when Lennytheshark was crowned harness racing 'Victorian Horse of the Year'.

The David Aiken trained, Chris Alford driven, Martin and Kevin Riesley owned seven-year-old was awarded the major equine honour at Sunday night’s 2016 Gordon Rothacker Medal celebration at the Crown Palladium.

The award was reward for Lennytheshark’s outstanding 2015-16, in which his successes included winning the Perth Inter Dominion and Good Form Victoria Cup, in addition to second placings in the Miracle Mile and Len Smith Mile.

“It’s quite humbling to be up here,” part-owner Martin Riesley said. “The horse has done a fantastic job.

“After the season, you have a look at the horses who have gone before and won these awards and it really puts it into context how special it is.”

Gammalite, Popular Alm, Shakamaker and Sokyola are but some of the superstars of the trots whose company Lennytheshark rightly shares, having on the night also officially received the Harness Racing Australia Horse of the Year award.

“It’s an absolute credit to the whole team that goes behind Lenny,” Mr Riesley said. “The way that David (Aiken) and the whole Aiken team manage him from the time he spends in the water walker to our vet Simon Robinson, Patrick Ryan when the horse was coming back – he spent I don’t know how many kms just walking – and the whole team has just put in an awesome effort.”

And it’s also a family affair, not only for the owning father-and-son, but for many who have been adopted into the wider Lennytheshark family.

“It’s not only our immediate family, staff at our work, cousins, distant cousins who you don’t even know come out of the woodwork. I went to Flemington races yesterday, I was on the bus and someone wanted to come up and talk about Lenny with me who I didn’t even know. It’s just fantastic and we all enjoy it.”

Lennytheshark, who will soon head to Perth to defend his crown, won the honour ahead of fellow Victorian Horse of the Year nominees Ideal For Real, Rocknroll Magic and Keystone Del.

The winners of the horse of the year categories were as follows:

Two-year-old pacing filly: Petacular (trained by Michael Stanley)

Two-year-old pacing colt and gelding: The Storm Inside (Emma Stewart)

Two-year-old trotting filly: Kyvalley Kyrie (Brent Lilley)

Two-year-old trotting colt and gelding: Illawong Byron (Jodi Quinlan)

Three-year-old pacing filly: Rocknroll Magic (Emma Stewart)

Three-year-old pacing colt and gelding: Dont Hold Back (Mario Attard)

Three-year-old trotting filly: High Gait (Nicole Molander)

Three-year-old trotting colt and gelding: Cruisin Around (Michael Hughes)

Four-year-old pacing filly: Delight Me (Emma Stewart)

Four-year-old pacing colt and gelding: Ideal For Real (Emma Stewart)

Four-year-old trotting filly: Endsino (Andy Gath)

Four-year-old trotting entire and gelding: Sparkling Success (John Meade)

Aged pacing filly: Nike Franco (Dean Braun)

Aged pacing colt and gelding: Lennytheshark (David Aiken)

Aged trotting filly: Maori Time (Brent Lilley)

Aged trotting entire and gelding: Keystone Del (Brent Lilley)

Victorian Horse of the Year: Lennytheshark (David Aiken)

Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

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