Horses, trainers, breeders, riders rewarded
With his impressive classic and stakes victories last year, Northern Star is Horse of the Year for 2016.
Northern Star and his connections received that accolade at the Barbados Turf Club’s annual Horse of the Year Awards Ceremony at the Island Inn Hotel on Saturday night.
The son of Carpe Diem landed the Pinnacle Feeds Midsummer Classic, the Republic Bank Breeders Stakes And Trophy, the Massy United Derby and then capped off a fine 2016 when he landed the Bryden Stokes Limited Breeders Classic meeting older animals for the first time. In all, Northern Star won six out of eight starts for 2016 with five of them being stakes and classic races.
Northern Star’s dam Aquarius Star won the Spa Ferry Award for Champion Broodmare.
The talented chestnut also secured the Coo Bird Award for champion three-year-olds for 2016, edging out one other nominee in Steven Allan who had beaten him in the Michael Parravicino Memorial Hopeful Breeders Stakes And Trophy and the Barbados Guineas.
The Liquid Bliss Award for champion two-year-olds was won by Luther G Miller’s Black Rock. The bay colt who had won the Boxing Day Nursery Trophy in impressive fashion, took two-year-old honours from two other nominees Fleurette and Powertul.
Top mare Nekitta received loud applause from the crowd, when she was named champion older creole and took the Blue Print Award. The quality seven-year-old mare who had won the first two legs of the triple crown in her three-year-old career, won three out of six races for 2016 with two of them being stakes races. Nekitta had won the Sales Graduates Champion Stakes in September, then took the Boxing Day Crown Of Light to crown off a very good season having six starts, three wins, two seconds and one third-place.
The Mentone Award for champion imported horses was won by Just A fashion. The big tall strapping six-year-old horse had nine starts last year being victorious in three of them with two of them being stakes races. The son of Old Fashioned won the Coolmore Home Of Champions Stakes in January, then went on to win the Ansa McAl Stakes in November. This was the second time Just A Fashion had won the champion imported award after taking the trophy in 2014. Just A fashion won the award over two other animals in Dorsett and infrared.
The M.E.R Bourne champion owner award was won by the father and son team of Steven and Allan Madoo. They had a good 2016 winning the Sandy Lane Gold Cup with Dorsett and the Hopeful Stakes and Barbados Guineas with 3-year-old Steven Allan.
The Champion breeder award for an unprecedented ninth time in succession went to Sir Charles Williams. Sir Charles had bred top two-year-olds Fleurette, Rockley and Zip Code. Sir Charles collected the Sir John Chandler Award. Sir Charles said he would love to see breeders premiums return in Barbados. He added that in some countries an owner was given a fee by the racing club for every horse he breeds.
Janak won the Happy Boy Award for the leading sire in Barbados for the fourth year in a row. His leading offspring for 2016 was Sirius Black who won the Tanglewood Stakes.
Champion Jockey Rasheed Hughes did not put a foot wrong in 2016. The young rider kept a cool head in his races with good judgement and capped off an excellent year. His biggest win was on Derby Day when he won the Tommy Peirce Memorial on Lucky Adventure. The strong rider collected the Challenor Jones Award for his fine 2016 displays in the saddle. The Byron Clarke Award for champion apprentice was won by Affrie Ward who also won the award in 2014.
The Val Gale Award for champion trainer was won by Victor Cheeseman for a fourth year in a row. Cheeseman had an outstanding 2016, winning his third Derby in a row and matching the record of Val Gale as the only trainer to have a hat-trick of derby victories. Cheeseman had his best year as a trainer in 2016 winning the Spa Sprint, Coolmore Stakes And Trophy, The Ansa McAl, Massy United Derby, Tanglewood, The Bryden Stokes Limited Breeders Classic and Repubic Bank Breeders Stakes. Cheeseman is the only trainer after Bill Marshall to be champion trainer for four years in a row.
Cheeseman’s hands were full for the night as he trains Northern Star, Aquarius Star and Just A Fashion, all award winners on the occasion.