Members of the judging panel for the 2020/21 Equus Awards – the “Oscars of South African racing” – report having had a tough task determining short-lists of nominees for some of the categories for the event to be held on Tuesday 17 August.
Selecting an overall Horse of the Year to succeed Summer Pudding will be even harder, with no clear-cut favourite, as is the case in some seasons. All of Durban July champion Kommetdieding, Queen’s Plate and Champions Cup winner Jet Dark, Triple Tiara queen War Of Athena, Triple Crown winner Malmoos, ace sprinter Rio Querari and a few others have claims to being the best horse in South Africa.
The judging panel tasked with choosing the country’s champions is made up of Gold Circle boss Graeme Hawkins, commentator Alistair Cohen, journalists Andrew Harrison and Jack Milner, and TV presenter and former trainer Stan Elley.
The Equus Awards will be held “virtually” on Tuesday next week and will be broadcast live on Tellytrack, DStv channel 249, from 8pm. The event will also be streamed on www.equusawards.co.za. Hosts on the evening will be Neil Andrews and Jessica Motaung.
Gold Cup day at Greyville on Saturday 31 July was the final major feature event of the season and a number of horses stamped themselves as contenders in the various award categories.
Champion Two-Year-Old Colt – Ambiorix, Cosmic Highway, Good Traveller, Waterberry Lane
Champion Two-Year-Old Filly – Desert Miracle, Rain In Holland, Sheela, Under Your Spell
Champion Three-Year-Old Colt – Jet Dark, Kommetdieding, Linebacker, Malmoos
Champion Three-Year-Old Filly – Captain’s Ransom, War Of Athena, Zarina
Champion Older Male – Got The Greenlight, Rainbow Bridge, Rio Querari
Champion Older Filly/Mare – Queen Supreme, Run Fox Run, Singforafa, Summer Pudding
Champion Sprinter – Battle Force, Kasimir, Rio Querari, Run Fox Run
Champion Miler – Got The Greenlight, Jet Dark, Rainbow Bridge
Champion Middle Distance – Got The Greenlight, Jet Dark, Kommetdieding, Linebacker, Rainbow Bridge, War Of Athena
Champion Stayer – Atyaab, Malmoos, Nebraas, Silver Host
The Horse of the Year will be selected from among the winners of the equine categories. The groom of the Horse of the Year will also get a prize.
The Equus breeding industry awards will be for Champion Stallion, Champion Breeder and Champion Broodmare. In addition, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association will present statuettes for the Outstanding Breeder and for the Outstanding International Achievement.
Equus media awards have been reintroduced and will be presented for Written Material (print/electronic), Broadcast (television/internet) and Photographic.
The Individual Awards are, of course, already decided and will go to the Champion Apprentice (Kyle Strydom), the Champion Jockey (Lyle Hewitson), the Champion Trainer (Justin Snaith) and the Champion Owner (Suzette Viljoen).