Inter Dominion champion Ultimate Sniper has been named Horse of the Year at the NZB Standardbred Harness Racing Awards.
The classy son of Bettor’s Delight took out the top gong by the narrowest of margins, winning 11 votes to Amazing Dream’s 10.
Undefeated in the Inter Dominion heats and final, Ultimate Sniper won six races during the season, accruing $349,100 in stakes.
At a ceremony limited to 100 people at Addington Raceway because of COVID-19 restrictions Amazing Dream had earlier won the 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year for a season that netted eight wins from nine starts, including the 2020 Northern Derby. Beating Copy That and One Change she was the first filly to win the Northern Derby since Ripper’s Delight in 1975.
Winterfell was the night’s big winner in the trotting ranks, voted Trotter of the Year after his win, among others, in the Inter Dominion Grand final.
Of the other trotting awards it was father versus son in the 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding category. And the voters couldn’t separate Ultimate Stride trained by Phil Williamson and Cracker Hill trained by his son Brad. They got 11 votes each.
Ultimate Stride won five from five for the season (three of them in Australia) while Cracker Hill won six from eight, including the Hambletonian Three-Year-Old classic at Ashburton.
Blair Orange, who won the New Zealand Cup with 5YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year Cruz Bromac, won his third drivers’ premiership in a row. He had 219 wins for the season, despite the COVID-19 interruption.
While the All Stars (Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen) trained the star individuals of the season – Ultimate Sniper, Amazing Dream and Winterfell – the Trainer of the Year was Robert Dunn. It is his first premiership after a season that saw him train 95 wins, 14 ahead of the All Stars.
Ricky May’s return to the racetrack was judged the People’s Choice Best Moment of the Season. In January he collapsed to the track while driving A G’s White Socks in the Omakau Cup and had to be revived. He was at tonight’s ceremony and received his trophy to a generous round of applause.
For a full list of winners can be viewed here
Harness Racing New Zealand