CHAMPION pacer King Of Swing has been crowned Australian Harness Horse of the Year for the second successive year.
King Of Swing becomes the ninth horse to win the title at least twice since its inception in 1976. He joins an illustrious list of champions: Beautide (2014 & ‘15), Im Themightyquinn (2011, ’12 & ’13), Blacks A Fake (2007, ’08 & 2010), Sokyola (2004 & ’05), Our Sir Vancelot (1997, ’98 & ’99), Westburn Grant (1989, ’91 & ’92), Village Kid (1986 & ’88) and Gammalite (1982 & ’84).
King Of Swing (by Rocknroll Hanover out of Twist And Twirl) raced 16 times last season for 11 wins, most notably in his second successive Miracle Mile, as well as four placings and banked $871,870.
Bred by Breckon Farms in New Zealand, King Of Swing is raced by B V Richardson, M A Congerton, Go Racing, G L Moore, S D McGregor, R Patriarca, F Patriarca, S E Simmonds and G J Richardson.
King Of Swing is trained by Belinda McCarthy and was driven by Luke McCarthy in 15 of his 16 runs. David Moran drove him when third in the Victoria Cup.
Champion former Kiwi mare Amazing Dream (Bettors Delight-Christian Dreamer), who beat King Of Swing in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park, was crowned the Aged Pacing Mare of the Year in a huge result for rookie trainer Nathan Purdon. She raced 10 times in Australia last season for four wins, two seconds and three thirds. She won three times at Group 1 (Blacks A Fake, The Rising Sun and Queen of the Pacific) and also the Group 2 Kilmore Cup.
It was another huge season for the powerful Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin stable, winning three Pacing Horse of the Year categories: Ladies In Red (3YO filly), Act Now (3YO colt/gelding) and Encipher (3YO filly).
Ladies In Red (Mach Three-Kabbalah Karen B) was so dominant she was in talks for the overall Horse of the Year title. She raced 10 times last season for eight wins, two seconds and earned $306,210. Her Group 1 wins were the Victoria Oaks, Breeders Crown final and Vicbred final. She’s raced by Lauriston Bloodstock.
Act Now (Somebeachsomewhere-Mollys Ideal) built on a strong two-year-old season to dominate at three, winning seven of his 14 starts, including the Victoria Derby and Breeders Crown finals for owners B C and V A Edward.
South Australian owner-breeder Tyson Linke enjoyed a huge season with his three-year-old filly Encipher (Captaintreacherous-Our Cavort), who raced 11 times for five wins, five placings and $278,359 in earnings. Her biggest wins were the Group 1 Breeders Crown and Group 1 Allwood Final. She also finished second in the Group 1 Vicbred final.
Captaintreacherous also sired the 2YO Pacer of the Year, Andy and Kate Gath’s exciting Catch A Wave (out of Coppagoodone), who is raced by Richard and Pauline Matthews. He raced just seven times for six wins, including the Breeders Crown final.
Young trotting sensation Plymouth Chubb (Majestic Son-Pocket Fantasy) was so dominant in his freshman season he won the overall Australian Trotter of the Year crown.
After galloping on debut, father-and-daughter Peter and Kerryn Manning took through an undefeated 14-run streak after that, including the Redwood Classic, Breeders Crown and Vicbred finals all at Group 1 level, for owners G S Benson and S K Hegyi. Sadly, he is now sidelined with injury.
The Aged Trotter of the Year title went to classy Kiwi Majestic Man (Majestic Son-Love Hate Revenge), largely through his deeds early last year when he won the Dullard Cup, Trotting Grand Prix and Aquagait Equine Mile all at Group 1 level. He also finished third in the Great Southern Star.
Majestic Man, trained by Phil Williamson and Sonya Smith at varying times, had 11 Australian starts last season for four wins, three placings and $189,550. He’s raced by the Griffins Syndicate.
Popular mare Pink Galahs (Skyvalley-Sweetasay), who won the 3YO Trotting Filly title a year earlier, won the Aged Trotting Mare title for last season. She won five of her 22 starts, twice at Group 1 Group 1 level, along with eight placings and $141,954 in stakemoney. She’s trained by Matthew Craven and raced by C G Lewis, L J Lewis and B R Healy.
The powerful Aldebaran Lodge team snared the 3YO Trotting Colt/Gelding title with Aldebaran Zeus (Muscle Hill-Zoia Boko), who raced 12 times for six wins, five placings and $118,840 for trainer Brent Lilley and driver Chris Alford. He won the Group 1 Breeders Crown final and finished second in the Vicbred and Victoria Trotters’ Derby finals.
Lilley capped a big season by also winning the 3YO Trotting Filly award with the brilliant Queen Elida (Love You-Queen Kenny), who dominated with nine wins and four placings from her 13 starts. She’s raced by G J McKenzie and R H Dixon. Her major wins were the Victoria Trotters’ Oaks and Breeders Crown at Group 1 level.
Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin added to their three pacing titles by winning the 2YO Trotting Filly crown with Just A Bit Touchy (Father Patrick-Gypsy Flair). She won four of her nine starts, headlined by the Breeders Crown, with another two placings and banked $77,380 for owners Big Wookie Racing Group, L A McMillan, R D Smart, C R Tonkin and B J Prentice.
The full award listings are as follows:
Lawn Derby Awards