New Zealand’s leading stables dominate the first batch of finalists for the 2018 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for Jumper of the Year to be determined later this month.
Half of the 22 flat finalists are trained by either the Cambridge partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman or the Te Akau team of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.
All finalists are eligible for the Horse of the Year title, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at Ellerslie Racecourse, on Sunday, August 26.
Baker and Forsman, who have established a record tally in the trainers’ premiership this term, prepare all four finalists in the middle-distance category – reigning Horse of the Year Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L’Amour and Saint Emilion – and will also be represented by Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Vin De Dance and Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) placegetter Zacada.
The Group One-winning juveniles Avantage and Sword Of Osman give Autridge and Richards a strong presence in the juvenile category and the stable will also be represented by Gingernuts and the three-year-olds Embellish and Age of Fire.
Gingernuts is a finalist in the sprinter-miler category, which has been reintroduced this year.
The finalists are:
Champion Two-Year-Old: Avantage, Melt, Spanish Whisper, Sword Of Osman.
Champion Three-Year-Old: Age Of Fire, Dijon Bleu, Embellish, Savvy Coup, Scott Base, Vin De Dance.
Sprinter-Miler (up to 1600m): Close Up, Gingernuts, Kawi, Start Wondering.
Champion Middle Distance (1601m-2200m): Bonneval, Jon Snow, Lizzie L’Amour, Saint Emilion.
Champion stayer (2201m and further): Charles Road, Five To Midnight, Ladies First, Zacada.