Despite the unfortunate scratching of Hawwaam from Saturday’s Gr1 Vodacom Durban July, there were a number of top-class performances from high-class thoroughbreds at Hollywoodbets Greyville last Saturday –and a number of horses, ironically enough including Hawwaam (Silvano), appear to have perhaps sewn up Equus Award titles.
There is only one major feature raceday left this season, with Super Satrurday coming up in two weeks.
Champion 2YO Colt
Unbeaten in three starts, having claimed the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion at his penultimate start, Eden Roc appears to have clinched this title following his comprehensive victory in Saturday’s Gr2 Durban Golden Horseshoe and it will surely take a massive performance from another two-year-old to deny this Var colt the Champion 2YO Colt title for 2018-2019.
Champion 2YO Filly
With Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship winner Miss Florida running last in Saturday’s Gr2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper, the Equus title for the season’s best two-year-old filly looks wide open, with the likely candidates including the aforementioned Miss Florida (Captain Al), Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery winner Basadi Faith (Master Of My Fate) and Saturday’s Golden Slipper winner Cockney Pride (Querari). This award looks likely to be decided by the outcome of the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes at the end of the month.
Champion 3YO Colt
The once beaten Hawwaam appears hard to oppose in this category, although stablemate Soqrat (Epaulette) also has strong claims, with Soqrat having won both the Gr1 Cape Guineas and Gr1 H F Oppenhemer Horse Chestnut Stakes this season. Soqrat also finished a close second to Do It Again in the Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, where that 3yo accounted for subsequent Sun Met winner Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World).
Champion 3YO Filly
This award looks a wide open one, with all of Celtic Sea (Captain Al), Clouds Unfold (What A Winter) and Return Flight (Pomodoro) all leading contenders. With her resume this season including a pair of Gr1 victories (notably Saturday’s Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over Oh Susanna and Snowdance) Celtic Sea does appear the front runner here, although both Clouds Unfold and Return Flight are likely to have their supporters.
Champion Middle Distance Horse
The likes of Do It Again (Twice Over), Hawwaam and Rainbow Bridge appear likely contenders for this award, although given his trio of Gr1 wins in open company it is hard to look past Do It Again as the logical selection.
Triple graded stakes winner Kasimir (Captain Al) heads the likely contenders for this award, with fellow Gr1 winners Chimichuri Run (Trippi), Celtic Sea and Pacific Trader (Sail From Seattle) his leading rivals for the title of Champion Sprinter. The result of the upcoming Gr1 Mercury Sprint is likely to determine the winner of this category.
Another award which does not appear to be clear cut, the title of Champion Stayer could well be decided by the result of the Gold Cup later this month.
Champion Older Male
Do It Again looks on track to pick up a number of Equus Awards this year, and is hard to oppose as Champion Older Male, with his potential rivals including the likes of Kasimir and Rainbow Bridge.
Champion Older Female
Last season’s Horse Of The Year Oh Susanna (Street Cry) looks a leading contender for this award, with the four-year-old having won both the Gr1 Paddock Stakes and Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes this season, as well as finishing second in Saturday’s Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes. Oh Susanna will be bidding for her fourth Equus Award, with the filly having been not only named Horse Of The Year last season but also Champion 3YO Filly and Champion Middle Distance Horse.
Horse Of The Year
With Do It Again having claimed three major G1 races this season, and winning the July under 60kgs, it is hard to imagine that last season’s Equus Champion 3YO Gelding would be denied the title of Horse Of The Year this year.
While Silvano (Lomitas) looks on course to pick up his fourth South African Sires title, he is not the only stallion to have a big season in 2018-2019.
Deceased former champion Captain Al (Al Mufti), who enjoyed graded success both as a sire and as a broodmare sire on Saturday, had a remarkable year this past season, making his mark as a sire, sire of sires and broodmare sire. At the time of writing, Captain Al is the only stallion in South Africa to have come up with more than 10 individual stakes winners for the season, with his 12 stakes winners including the Gr1 winners Celtic Sea, Kasimir and Miss Florida.
Captain Al is also damsire of leading Equus Award contender Eden Roc while his triple Gr1 winning son Captain Of All takes high rank among the leading first crop sires this season.
Broodmare Of The Year
One award which was sorted very early in the season was that of Broodmare Of The Year for 2018-2019. With her only two runners being the G1 winners Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam, G3 Prix du Cap winner Halfway To Heaven (Jet Master) appears a deserving certainty to be named Broodmare Of The Year at this year’s Equus Awards ceremony.