Group 1 winner Alligator Blood has taken out the state’s top prize at the 2020 TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Awards.
The David Vandyke-trained gelding enjoyed a stellar 2019/20 season, notching up seven wins from 10 starts in both Queensland and Victoria – headlined by his dominant Group 1 Australian Guineas triumph at Flemington in February – to be crowned the TAB Queensland Horse of the Year.
Alligator Blood also added three Group 3 wins – the most memorable being his dramatic head-bobbing match race with New Zealand star Catalyst in the CS Hayes Stakes – as well as a heart-breaking Group 1 placing in the Caulfield Guineas.
He was also named the Three-Year-Old Horse of the Year.
“It’s a great honour, it is certainly the icing on the cake of what has been an incredible season for Alligator Blood,” Vandyke said.
“I’m so proud of him, he was given a lot of tests throughout the season and we kept lifting the bar for him and he kept jumping over it – he showed everyone how tough he is.
“With any hope we thought he could be a Group 1 winner, but I probably didn’t think there was anything exceptional that set him apart from some of the others in my stable of the same age.
“To see how he has progressed, culminating with a Group 1 win at Flemington, it has been a fantastic season for Alligator Blood.”
Tony Gollan’s record-breaking season has seen him claim his seventh Trainer of the Year Award, after setting a new state training record of 157.5 wins, as well as becoming the first to break the triple-figure mark for metro victories with 108.5.
Rising star Baylee Nothdurft continued his ascension as one of the state’s leading hoops, awarded the Queensland Jockey of the Year after piloting 108.5 state winners, including 77.5 metropolitan triumphs.
The Gollan-Nothdurft partnership was a dominant one across the state, with 79 of the jockey’s 108.5 wins coming aboard Gollan trained horses, including another 84 placings from 333 starts.
Unsurprisingly, Nothdurft also secured the the Ken Russell Queensland Apprentice of the Year and the Metropolitan Apprentice of the Year awards.
“Whilst there were a number of standout performers throughout the season, Alligator Blood is a deserving winner of the Queensland Horse of the Year,” RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“His efforts to go inter-state and secure a Group 1 title, as well as a number of other Group races against some of the best middle-distance gallopers in the country was an outstanding achievement and one that did the state of Queensland proud.
“Tony Gollan has continued to dominate the training ranks, evidenced by the number of state and metro records he broke this season, and the partnership he has formed with Baylee Nothdurft has continued to go from strength-to-strength.
“It has been a brilliant season for Queensland thoroughbreds; one that has seen us unearth some genuine equine stars who will keep our racing in good stead for a number of years to come.”
In total, 25 awards were handed out with Rob Heathcote’s superstar sprinter, Rothfire, named Two-Year-Old Horse of the Year after winning six of seven starts including a sizzling performance in the Group 1 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm in June.
Finally, Tyzone, who claimed the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in dramatic late fashion after finishing second the year prior, was named the Four Years and Older Horse of the Year.
2020 TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Award winners
• TAB Queensland Thoroughbred Horse of the Year – Alligator Blood (David Vandyke);
• Magic Millions Queensland Trainer of the Year – Tony Gollan;
• Garrard’s Horse and Hound Queensland Jockey of the Year – Baylee Nothdurft;
• Sky Racing Ken Russell Queensland Apprentice of the Year – Baylee Nothdurft;
• Racing Queensland Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership – Tony Gollan;
• Racing Queensland Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership – Baylee Nothdurft;
• Pullman Brisbane Airport Hotel Metropolitan Apprentice of the Year – Baylee Nothdurft;
• Novotel Brisbane Airport Hotel Apprentice of the Year – Elyce Smith;
• Ibis Brisbane Airport Hotel Country Apprentice of the Year – Tessa Townsend;
• Brisbane Racing Club Student of the Year – Emma Bell;
• QRIC Stewards Award – Ryan Maloney;
• QTIS Horse of the Year – sponsored by Spirit of Boom – Rothfire (Robert Heathcote);
• Magic Millions Insurance Queensland 2YO Horse of the Year – Rothfire (Robert Heathcote);
• Ipswich Turf Club Queensland 3YO Horse of the Year – Alligator Blood (David Vandyke);
• Ladies in Racing Queensland 4YO and Older Horse of the Year – Tyzone (Toby and Trent Edmonds);
• Racing Queensland Provincial Premiership Horse of the Year – Absolut Artie (Ricky Vale);
• Racing Queensland Provincial Premiership Trainer – Stuart Kendrick;
• Racing Queensland Provincial Premiership Jockey – Les Tilley;
• Racing Queensland Country Premiership Horse of the Year – Tango Rain (Jay Morris) and Bollente (Ray Hermann);
• Racing Queensland Country Premiership Trainer – Bevan Johnson;
• Racing Queensland Country Premiership Jockey – Dan Ballard;
• TBQA Queensland Stallion of the Year – Spirit Of Boom;
• TBQA Champion First Season Stallion – Spill The Beans;
• TBQA Champion 2YO Stallion – Spirit Of Boom; and
• TBQA Broodmare of the Year – Rezonet.