Australian Racehorse of the Year finalists announced

The category finalists for the 2013 Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards presented by Racing Victoria, Sky Racing World and TAB have been revealed today with a star-studded VOBIS Gold Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding category among the highlights.

Glamour colts All Too Hard and Pierro will square off with star Kiwi It’s A Dundeel and Group 1-winning duo Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool in what is shaping as one of the most intriguing categories.

The Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding will be announced at the Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards at Peninsula at Docklands, Melbourne, next Thursday night, 3 October.

Seven category award winners will be unveiled before the Sky Racing World Australian Racehorse of the Year is crowned, with the ceremony to be broadcast live on Sky Racing World from 8.30pm (AET).

The night will commence with the official launch of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, followed by a special presentation to celebrate 60 years of training by Hall Of Fame legend Bart Cummings.

The Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards are voted on by members of Australia’s racing media, along with senior administrators from the principal racing authorities and metropolitan racing clubs nationwide.

Following the collation of their votes, based on performances during the 2012-13 racing season (1 August 2012 – 31 July 2013), the top five vote-getters in each category have been announced as the finalists.

The Team Hawkes-trained All Too Hard, an impressive winner of the BECK Caulfield Guineas before a trio of Group 1 weight-for-age successes this year, and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Pierro, who added two Group 1 titles to his juvenile Triple Crown, are finalists in three categories.

The pair, along with Peter Moody-trained superstar Black Caviar, globetrotting Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter and Darley speedster Epaulette feature as finalists for the Mitchelton Wines Champion Sprinter Award.

Black Caviar won three Group 1 races during her final season on the track, including a track record-breaking victory in the Black Caviar Lightning, to extend her unbeaten streak to 25.

Bel Sprinter, who secured trainer Jason Warren’s maiden Group 1 victory in The Galaxy, was a subsequent runner-up to Hong Kong hero Lucky Nine in Singapore’s Krisflyer International Sprint while Epaulette bookended his season with Group 1 wins in the Golden Rose and the Doomben 10,000.

All Too Hard and Pierro also join another pair of multiple nominees, the Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel and Australian Cup winner Super Cool, among the finalists for the Monjon Australia Champion Middle Distance Award.

It’s A Dundeel collected a quartet of Group 1 wins in the 2012-13 season, including Sydney’s three-year-old Triple Crown of the Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and ATC Derby and is joined in the Champion Middle Distance finalists list by Cox Plate-winning compatriot Ocean Park.

It’s A Dundeel’s dominant ATC Derby success also secured his place as a finalist for the TAB Champion Stayer Award alongside Anthony Cummings’ top staying three-year-old Fiveandahalfstar, whose season was headlined by Group 1 victories in the Victoria Derby and The BMW.

Popular French raider Dunaden is again a finalist thanks to his Caulfield Cup success with a pair of talented imports, Team Williams’ Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon and the Darren Weir-trained Puissance De Lune, also in the mix to be crowned Australia’s Champion Stayer.

Five top-flight fillies will battle out the New Zealand Bloodstock Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Award, with the Bart Cummings-trained Norzita the only multiple Group 1 winner among the finalists.

The daughter of Thorn Park was a dominant winner of the Flight Stakes in the Spring before returning to claim the Vinery Stud Stakes and a placing in the Doncaster Mile.

Oaks winners Royal Descent and Dear Demi were also recognised for their dominant staying performances with Coolmore Stud Stakes hero Nechita and regally-bred Thousand Guineas winner Commanding Jewel rounding out the finalists.

Golden Slipper winner Overreach and fairytale Blue Diamond heroine Miracles Of Life are joined by a Peter Snowden-trained trio, including dual Group 1-winning filly Guelph as well as Safeguard and Sidestep, as the finalists for the Eliza Park Champion Two-Year-old Award.

Ciaron Maher’s defending champion Bashboy heads the finalists for the Champion Jumper Award, while the Champion Group 1 Trainer and Jockey as well as the Champion Sire Award will also be presented during the evening.

The category finalists, in alphabetical order, are as follows;

Eliza Park Champion Two-Year-Old Award Finalists

· Guelph

· Miracles Of Life

· Overreach

· Safeguard

· Sidestep

New Zealand Bloodstock Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Award Finalists

· Commanding Jewel

· Dear Demi

· Nechita

· Norzita

· Royal Descent

VOBIS Gold Champion Three-Year-Old Colt or Gelding Award Finalists

· All Too Hard

· Fiveandahalfstar

· It’s A Dundeel

· Pierro

· Super Cool

Mitchelton Wines Champion Sprinter Award Finalists

· All Too Hard

· Bel Sprinter

· Black Caviar

· Epaulette

· Pierro

Monjon Australia Champion Middle Distance Award Finalists

· All Too Hard

· It’s A Dundeel

· Ocean Park

· Pierro

· Super Cool

TAB Champion Stayer Award Finalists

· Dunaden

· Fiveandahalfstar

· Green Moon

· It’s A Dundeel

· Puissance De Lune

Champion Jumper Award Finalists

· Banna Strand

· Bashboy

· Black And Bent

· Gotta Take Care

· Maythehorsebemagic