Monday, August 31, 2009
The Scenic View From On Top, Down Under
The Australian racing season runs from August 1 (when all race horses officially turn a year older) until July 31, and thus, on Monday, champions were crowned in various categories and one was honored as Australian Horse of the Year.
What makes these awards so extraordinary—for me—is three champions are descendents of Foolish Pleasure, through Scenic (who died in 2005), a son of Sadlers Wells, out of the Foolish Pleasure mare Idyllic.
Scenic Blast (Scenic, out of Delgado mare Daughter’s Charm) was named champion sprinter, top international performer, and Horse of the Year, after three G1 victories—the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap at Fleming, and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He is training in England for his next two races, October 4 G1 Sprinter’s Stakes in Japan, and December 13 G1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin. Currently, he is leading the Global Sprint Challenge, which requires that a horse win a minimum of three G1 races in three different countries, for a $1 million bonus.
Not surprisingly, G1 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed (Scenic, out of Khozaam mare Lovers Knot) triumphed in the Champion Stayer category, a great story as his win there was a record 12th Melbourne Cup for Hall of Fame trainer Bart Cummings.
Champion 2-Year-Old (Filly, Colt or Gelding) went to gelding Phelan Ready (More Than Ready, out of Scenic's son Blevic mare Nancy Eleanor) who not only won the $2 million restricted (non-graded) Magic Millions Classic, but pulled an absolute shocking in the $3.5 million G1 Golden Slipper. His championship award is tinged with sadness, though, as trainer Jason McLachlan accepted without his co-trainer, father Bruce who died unexpectedly in June.
Given his success this year—not just with Scenic Blast and Viewed, but also G1 New Zealand Derby winner Coniston Bluebird, G1 Doomben and G1 Brisbane cups victor Scenic Shot, G2 International Sprint winner Sunburnt Land (who tragically died in his paddock after being struck by lightning), G3 Roma Cup winner Grand Nirvana, and G3 Belmont Sprint winner Universal Ruler, plus the offspring of his daughters, such as G1 Galaxy winner Nicconi and his multi-G1 winning (Classic, Futurity, and Australian Cup) half-brother Niconero—wow! You would think Scenic would have won Champion Sire, but, alas, it went to Encosta de Lago. Ho-hum...
Other Australian champions for 2008-09 season:
Theseo—Champion Middle Distance
Sacred Kingdom—Australia-Bred International Runner
Samantha Miss—Champion 3-Year-Old Filly
Whobegotyou—Champion 3-Year-old Male
The lady trainer Gai Waterhouse took home the prize for Group 1 trainer, while her stable jock Nash Rawiller won the jockey award.
Congratulations to all!