Chris Waller wins a fifth Bart Cummings Medal

Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller was presented with his fifth successive Bart Cummings Medal at tonight’s Racing’s Night of Champions held at Royal Randwick.

Waller, who only weeks ago scored his fifth straight win in the Sydney Trainers’ Premiership for the 2014-15 racing season, continues to churn out winners.

During the season leading Sydney racing journalists compiled their votes on the Bart Cummings Medal and Waller had to stave off a solid finish from Medal runner-up, jockey James McDonald to land the prestigious award.

McDonald enjoyed an excellent season and during April got within a point of Waller in the table. However, Waller edged away when McDonald ventured to Europe for a brief riding stint for Godolphin.

Waller also collected the T.J. Smith Award for Sydney’s leading trainer preparing 144 winners for the season.

“Chris Waller and his team constantly do an amazing job and deserve all the plaudits that come their way,” said Mr Peter V’landys AM, Racing NSW’s Chief Executive.

“Taking out five successive Bart Cummings Medals against some of the finest jockeys and trainers anywhere in the world is an incredible achievement.”

Hugh Bowman survived a three-way tussle in a fantastic finish to the George Moore Award for the Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership. Hugh booted home 96 winners for the season to defeat James McDonald and Blake Shinn (both on 91.5 wins). It was the third title for Bowman having previously won the 2008-09 and 2011-12 Sydney premierships.

Talented young jockey Winona Costin streaked away with the Theo Green Award for leading Sydney apprentice with 41 wins for the season. The 20-year-old has now ridden a total of 194 winners (53 metro, 57 provincial and 84 in the country area).

Prominent NSW Racehorse Owners award winners on the night were Final Seal ( NSW Horse of the Year), Lucia Valentina (NSW Provincial Horse of the Year) and Scissor Kick (NSW Country Horse of the Year).

The remaining Racing NSW award winners were:-

Blake Shinn (NSW Racing Writers’ Personality of the Year): The Daily Telegraph’s Ray Thomas said: “This award was selected by the NSW Racing Writers’ Association and
RACING NSW. Blake received a commanding number of votes from racing writers to take out the award. It is fair to say Blake once had an uneasy relationship with the media but these days he is extremely obliging to interview requests and is always willing to promote the racing industry. Perhaps it is sheer coincidence but his relaxed, calm demeanour also resulted in a career-best season for the jockey. Others to attract votes were Chris Waller, Gerald Ryan, Gai Waterhouse, Tommy Berry and Ron Quinton.”

Vicki Scezsodi (Sydney Strapper of the Year – Bjorn Baker stable): Bjorn said: “Vicki is an accomplished horsewoman and experienced stablehand. She is passionate about equine welfare and oversees the routine treatment of our horses on a daily basis. Vicki regularly accompanies our horses to country and provincial races and voluntarily assumed the role of mentoring our junior staff. Vicki is a very valued staff member.”

Eisenhower (BOBS Horse of the Year): Trained by Gai Waterhouse, the son of All American won four BOBS bonus races totalling $55,000 for his connections, including two Royal Randwick victories.

Final standings for the 2014-15 Bart Cummings Medal:-

88 – Chris WALLER
62 – James McDONALD
56 – Blake SHINN
50 – Winona COSTIN
46 – Hugh BOWMAN
38 – Tommy BERRY
26 – John O’SHEA
24 – Tim CLARK
19 – Brenton AVDULLA
19 – Kris LEES