Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
12 Aug 2021
9:58 am

Equus Awards judges have been scratching their heads

Mike Moon

Selecting an overall Horse of the Year to succeed Summer Pudding will be hard, with no clear-cut favourite.

Kommetdieding, winner of the Durban July, is up for Horse of the Year. Picture: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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.

NOMINEES

Equine 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).