Cape thoroughbreds did the industry proud at Tuesday night’s Equus Awards ceremony, held at Emperors Palace Casino in Johannesburg.
No fewer than nine of the equine awards fell the way of horses bred in the Cape! Star of the show, however, was the Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm Legal Eagle, who not only picked up the coveted title of Horse Of The Year but was also named Champion Miler and Older Male respectively.
Owned by Ingrid and Markus Jooste (who were crowned South Africa’s Champion Owners for a ninth time last night), Legal Eagle was first or second in all five of his outings during 2015-2016.
The son of Cape sire Greys Inn won three of his five starts –with all three wins coming in Grade One races, namely the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, H F Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and the Premier’s Champion Challenge. He also finished second to the Cape bred, and Breeders’ Cup bound, Smart Call in the G1 J&B Met.
Bred and owned by Mauritzfontein Stud, Smart Call herself picked up two Equus Awards –Champion Older Filly/Mare and Champion Middle Distance Horse. The daughter of Mauritzfontein Stud’s resident sire Ideal World won four of five outings, culminating in back to back wins in the G1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes and G1 J&B Met. (Smart Call’s dam Good Judgement is a half sister to former Equus Champion Greys Inn –the sire of Legal Eagle!)
Remarkably, she was one of two Equus Champions to represent Mauritzfontein at the awards –the other being Champion 3YO Gelding Marinaresco.
Other Equus Award winners bred in the Cape include Always In Charge (bred by Klawervlei) Cloth Of Cloud (bred by Highlands) and Bela-Bela (bred by Cheveley Stud), while South Africa’s Champion Stallion for 2015-2016 was Drakenstein Stud’s resident sire Trippi.
The Ceres farm, Lammerskraal Stud, enjoyed a magnificent season in 2015-2016, and received a well deserved Outstanding Breeder Of The Year award in recognition. Third on the Breeders Log, despite having just 87 runners during 2015-2016, Lammerskraal ended the season with more than 50 winners of over R12.416 to their credit, with their tally including nine individual stakes winners.
Top horses to represent Lammerskraal last season included the Equus Award nominees Red Ray and Abashiri, with the latter, a Triple Crown winning son of Lammerskraal’s sire Go Deputy, picking up a Special Achievement Award for his achievements during the past season.
Cape broodmares Our Table Mountain (Highlands), Mystic Spring (Cheveley Stud) and Young Sensation (who resides at Klawervlei) were honoured with the titles of Broodmare Of The Year, Exceptional Broodmare Achievement Award, and Outstanding Broodmare awards respectively.
HORSE OF THE YEAR
CHAMPION 2YO Colt
Always In Charge
CHAMPION 2YO Filly
Cloth Of Cloud
CHAMPION 3YO Colt
CHAMPION 3YO Filly
CHAMPION Older Filly/Mare
CHAMPION Sprinter (1000-1200m)
CHAMPION Miler (1400-1600m)
CHAMPION Middle Distance (1800-2200m)
CHAMPION Stayer (2400m)
CHAMPION Older Male
Our Table Mountain
Exceptional BROODMARE Achievement
Outstanding BREEDER Award
MEDIA Award – Print
Ingrid & Markus Jooste – Mayfair Speculators Pty Ltd
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT Award
Illuminator – Glen Puller, Frances Carruthers & Ian Robinson
Inara – Mike Bass, Gaynor Rupert, Ross Fuller & Kevin Sommerville
Abashiri – Mike Azzie & Adriaan and Rika Van Vuuren