2020 Australian Racehorse of the Year Finalists

 Racing Queensland on Monday announced the finalists for the 2019/20 Australian Racehorse of the Year awards.

Given current restrictions, this year’s ceremony will be broadcast live via Sky Thoroughbred Central and from 8pm AEST on October 5, 2020.

The awards acknowledge performances on Australian tracks, as well as international performances by Australian-trained horses, for the period from August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020.

The finalists in each category have obtained the most votes from over 70 of the nation’s racing media and handicappers.

Each finalist will then be eligible to be crowned Australian Racehorse of the Year, joining previous winners including Winx, Black Caviar, Makybe Diva and Might and Power.  

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s reigning Golden Slipper winner Farnan headlines the finalists for Champion 2YO of the Year, alongside fellow Group 1 winners King’s Legacy, Rothfire and Tagaloa, as well as Magic Millions 2YO Classic champion, Away Game.

The Champion 3YO Filly and Colt finalists showcase several the country’s brightest talents, with Group 1 winning fillies Funstar, Flit, Colette and Loving Gaby joined by Rubisaki, who remained undefeated in six starts last season.

Despite claiming the world’s richest race on turf in The Everest, Yes Yes Yes is the only Champion 3YO Colt of the Year finalist to have not claimed a Group 1 crown last season, facing stiff competition from Bivouac, Alligator Blood, Castelvecchio and Russian Camelot.

Nature Strip, picture

After claiming three Group 1 wins last season, Nature Strip will headline the finalists for Champion Sprinter of the Year, joined by three existing category finalists in Bivouac, Loving Gaby and Yes Yes Yes, as well as South Australian star Gytrash, who caused a boilover in the Black Caviar Lightening when defeating the Chris Waller-trained gelding at long odds. 

Regal Power, Castelvecchio, Alligator Blood, Kolding and Fierce Impact will fight it out for the Middle Distance crown, with all five finalists staking strong claims after each taking home Group 1 titles throughout the season.

Reigning Melbourne Cup champion Vow And Declare will face a number of the country’s up-and-coming long-distance stars in Surprise Baby, Russian Camelot, Verry Elleegant and Colette as finalists for the Champion Stayer of the Year.

Finally, Grand Annual Hurdle and Grand Annual Steeplechase winner Ablaze is joined by Tallyho Twinkletoe, Bit of a Lad and Gobstopper as finalists for the Champion Jumper of the Year.

“The Australian Racehorse of the Year awards recognise the best of the best,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.

“Throughout the course of the year, there were a number of outstanding performances including Vow and Declare’s homegrown victory in the Melbourne Cup.

“Queensland’s Rothfire and Alligator Blood held their own on the national stage and it is pleasing to see them recognised, but each and every finalist should be congratulated for their respective accomplishments.”

Two awards on the evening have already been awarded, with Craig Williams crowned as the nation’s Group 1 Jockey of the Year.

The Victorian-based hoop picked up the Manikato Stakes and William Reid Stakes aboard Loving Gaby, before adding another double behind Fierce Impact in the Toorak Handicap and Kennedy Cantala.

Castelvecchio’s Randwick Guineas triumph and Vow And Declare’s famous Melbourne Cup win capped off another dominant season for the 43-year-old, which also saw him take out a ninth Victorian Metropolitan Jockey Premiership.

Even without the mighty mare Winx by his side, the nation’s top trainer Chris Waller  claimed the Bart Cummings Award, presented to the trainer who has secured the most Group 1 wins in the season.

Waller saddled up 281 winners last season, earning $44.5 million in prize money whilst adding another nine Group 1 crowns to his name, thanks to stable stars Nature Strip, Verry Elleegant, Funstar, Kolding and Come Play With Me.

Sydney’s two mega-riches races also played a major role in his season’s success, with Yes Yes Yes and Kolding claiming the $14 million Everest and $7.5 million Golden Eagle respectively.

Champion 2YO of the Year

King’s Legacy
Away Game

Champion 3YO Filly of the Year

Loving Gaby

Champion 3YO Colt of the Year

Yes Yes Yes
Alligator Blood
Russian Camelot

Champion Jumper of the Year 

Bit of a Lad
Tallyho Twinkletoe
Champion Sprinter of the Year

Loving Gaby
Nature Strip
Yes Yes Yes

Champion Middle Distance of the Year

Regal Power
Alligator Blood
Fierce Impact

Champion Stayer of the Year

Verry Elleegant
Vow And Declare
Russian Camelot
Surprise Baby