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Equus 2020 – Saluting The Stars!

Mary Slack's Lifetime Achievement Award

Despite never having taken on the boys, the Wilgerbosdrift & Mauritzfontein-bred undefeated SA Triple Tiara winner of last term, Summer Pudding, was crowned SA Horse Of The Year at the unique virtual Equus Awards hosted by the Desch attired veteran broadcasters Neil Andrews and Nico Kritsiotis on Tellytrack on Sunday evening.

On a big evening for a dominant South African breeding dynasty, Mary Slack was acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award, while Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein were voted outstanding SA Breeder.

Mary Slack

Mary Slack – Lifetime Achievement Award

In an outcome that went largely according to expectations, Sporting Post readers were on the button in the Horse Of The Year debate, after voting 41% in favour of Summer Pudding, with Joey Soma’s Got The Greenlight (12%) and Hawwaam (11%) next best in the poll.

A winner of all of her seven starts, Summer Pudding earned R1 413 500, excluding her Tiara bonus, and proved the darling of the SA racing public in a testing season, with an heroic final effort when launching from what looked a beaten position to win the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 in dazzling style. She also, unsurprisingly, picked up the Champion 3yo Filly title.

SA Horse Of The Year – Summer Pudding (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Summer Pudding is by champion sire Silvano (Lomitas)  out of the seven-time winning stakes winner Cherry On The Cake(Strike Smartly) – the latter a half sister to SA Triple Tiara winner Cherry On The Top (Tiger Ridge).

Her anticipated major threat for top honours, Joey Soma’s smashing 4yo Got The Greenlight, didn’t walk away unheralded and was crowned Champion 3yo  Male and Champion Middle Distance after an extended season where he won the Gr1 SA Classic, Gr1 Daily News 2000 and ran second to Belgarion in the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July.

Champion 2yo male – Tempting Fate (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

The Avontuur-bred Tempting Fate, the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe winning son of Master Of My Fate was crowned Champion 2yo Colt, while Var’s smashing daughter Anything Goes received the fairer sex equivalent.

Many may have felt that another of Master Of My Fate’s offspring in the Gr1 Premiers Champion Stakes winner Sentbydestiny, who beat the males in a thriller, may have swung the judges in her favour.

New Drakenstein stallion One World, who probably did his Horse Of The Year aspirations no favours by retiring after the Sun Met, clinched a hotly contested Champion Older Male category.

Captain Al was again to the fore when Five times SA Champion Sean Tarry saw his Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint winner Celtic Sea lift the silverware in the Champion Older Filly/Mare slot.

Milnerton trainers Candice Bass-Robinson and Adam Marcus celebrated in the Champion Sprinter and Champion Miler division, when Russet Air and Vardy were adjudged tops, respectively.

Vardy also gave Avontuur’s evergreen champion Var two Equus winners.

Klawervlei were crowned Champion Breeders, with their supremo John Koster generously dedicating the award to all of his fellow winners.

Well done to the organisers and all the nominees. A superb effort in trying times!

Here are all the winners-

Champion Two-year-old Colt

  • Tempting Fate (Master Of My Fate)


  • Erik the Red (Captain Al)
  • Mount Pleasant (Aus)
  • Nourbese (Futura)

Champion Two-year-old Filly

  • Anything Goes (Var)


  • Sentbydestiny (Master Of My Fate)
  • Vernichey (Vercingetorix)

Bernard Fayd’herbe & Joey Soma – after dual Equus Champion Got The Greenlight’s Gr1 Daily News victory (Candiese Lenferna)

Champion Three-year-old Colt

  • Got The Greenlight (Gimmethegreenlight)


  • Golden Ducat (Philanthropist)

Champion Three-year-old Filly

  • Summer Pudding (Silvano)


  • Missisippi Burning (Captain Al)

Champion Older Male – One World (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Champion Older Male

  • One World (Captain Al)


  • Belgarion (Dynasty)
  • Hawwaam (Silvano)
  • Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World)
  • Vardy (Var)

Champion Older Filly/Mare

  • Celtic Sea (Captain Al)


  • Clouds Unfold (What A Winter)
  • Queen Supreme (Ire)
  • Ronnie’s Candy (King Of Kings)
  • Temple Grafin (Duke Of Marmalade)

Champion Sprinter – Russet Air (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

 Champion Sprinter

Russet Air (What A Winter)


  • Celtic Sea (Captain Al)
  • Rivarine (Var)
  • Van Halen (Oratorio)
  • Warrior’s Rest (What A Winter)

Champion Miler

Vardy (Var)


  • Hawwaam (Silvano)
  • Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World)

Champion Middle Distance

  • Got The Greenlight (Gimmethegreenlight)


  • Belgarion (Dynasty)
  • Golden Ducat (Philanthropist)
  • Hawwaam (Silvano)
  • One World (Captain Al)
  • Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World),
  • Summer Pudding (Silvano)

Champion Stallion

  • Silvano

Champion Breeder

  • Klawervlei Stud

Champion Broodmare

  • Halfway To Heaven (Mary Slack and Jessica Jell)

Outstanding South African Breeder Award

  • Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein

 Lifetime Achievement Award         

  • Mary Slack

Champion Apprentice

  • Luke Ferraris

Pure Winning Form! Warren Kennedy (Pic – Candiese Lenferna)

Champion Jockey

  • Warren Kennedy

Champion Trainer

  • Sean Tarry

Chris van Niekerk

Champions – Trainer Sean Tarry & Owner Chris van Niekerk

Champion Owner

  • Chris van Niekerk

Horse of The Year

  • Summer Pudding

Special Award to the Groom of the Horse of the year

  • Patrick Mankwe

Congratulations to all the winners!

Have Your Say

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26 comments on “Equus 2020 – Saluting The Stars!

  1. Kenny Masilela says:

    Well done to Mary Slack! She deserves the success after all the years of investing in this game.

  2. Rodney zackey says:

    Summer pudding was the right choice congrats to all

  3. Steve Reid says:

    Congratulations to all the winners, every owner who raced through the shut down and paid their way is a winner in my eyes and its a pity that only a handful can reach these peaks.

    This will not be a popular observation but I don’t agree with the panel on Summer Pudding. Whilst she is undoubtedly a top filly and unbeaten, the fact that she never took the colts on makes others more deserving imvho. As a matter of interest, has any other filly won this award previously without beating the boys? Having a look at the composition of that panel, with a significant percentage employed by Phumelela, I wonder how influential the ownership of the winner was?

  4. jc lee ching says:

    Under the circumstances Summer Pudding was the correct choice. The fact that she never stepped out of her comfort zone to take on males or run in the July as Ipi Tombi did must germinate a small seed of doubt. In her favour one must admit she was very well managed and that may prove a positive in her career. In England some star three year olds are also treated the same. They win the Guineas but give the Derby and the Arc a miss, great horses win the Derby and then the Arc.

  5. hilton witz says:

    Maybe whoever wrote this article can add in that summer pudding never took on older fillies and mares in feature races never mind the males …She might be the most popular horse in south africa but you need to choose the winner on merit not popularity and it seems the panel have been influenced by the connections of summer pudding …The more things change the more they stay the same in horse racing in south africa..

    1. Editor says:

      Fair comment, Hilton

  6. G Goliath says:

    Summer Pudding a deserved winner. I’m sure it was close all the nominees had a fair shout. Congrats to all.

  7. Desiree says:

    Congrats to the champions – the horses who run with their hearts. Congrats to the breeders, owners and dedicated trainers.

  8. Josip Tomislav says:

    Correct me if I am wrong. The equus awards are awards given out by the Racing Association. They are not awards that are chosen by an array of handicappers, form publications, journalists, owners, trainers, jockeys, and journalists. Winning an equus award in South Africa is from a world perspective winning the marmite mini cricket league in Timbuktu.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Josip
      The awards are co-ordinated by the RA
      It’s clear they need to work on the parameters and composition of the voting panel but a bit unfair to label it the way you have

  9. jc lee ching says:

    In all fairness to Summer Pudding I could not make a strong case for any of the other nominees, so perhaps it is the correct verdict.

  10. M(artin)Gram(atica) says:

    I agree with Steve Reid and Hilton Witz. The winner has not ticked all the boxes and this should not be a popularity contest. The panel composition can also never be considered independent. A home town decision in every way.

  11. Ed Bedford says:

    While I have nothing against the winners (congratulations to all), some questions will naturally be had by some I imagine. The season is past now and the awards have been presented, but I am a very strong advocator that the awards NEED to move to a points based system like that which is used by the Sporting Post. This will remove any bias or the ability to question results. It will also equally weight the beginning and end of the season. This year, if you used the Sporting Post system and added the Gold Cup meeting points to the past season tally, your top horses are in this order: Hawwaam (280), Rainbow Bridge (239), Golden Ducat (229), Russet Air (218), Got the Greenlight (210) and Summer Pudding (200).

    I think we are swayed by popular opinion and media hype sometimes rather than by true horse power.

    Is there a hole in the system??? Please move to a points system!

  12. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Summer Pudding the correct winner all things considered , Golden Ducat winner of a classic and the Champion Stakes beating the best in the country and in my book the most improved horse in the last two months can , I think , feel a little hard done by to come away from the awards ” empty handed ” ?

  13. Kevin Vally says:

    I gave it to Summer Pudding on the fact that she was unbeaten – admittedly only against her own sex. The boys all fluffed their lines at some stage during the season. Rainbow Bridge would have been my choice had he run in the first three in the July.

  14. Dave Guy says:

    Well done to Klawervlei. Great work to John Koster and his team. So well deserved. Doing well again this season. Champions.

  15. Steve Reid says:

    I would love to see a match race between Summer Pudding and Got the Greenlight. Turffontein 2000m and the filly receives the sex allowance.

  16. PL.NEL says:

    Would like to see the trophy on the same mantle, namely Queen of Racing and this on the merit of good and successful business. All the best.

  17. Graham Hurlstone-Jones says:

    Summer pudding ? ok….thats an “industry” decision not a form decision. Surely you have to take on all comers and beat them or at least take them on ? Thats what is normally done in SA ? This was an in-house choice. Summer Pudding is not the best horse in the country but well done to all the other awards handed out for “service to the industry” …….Nice to see the same faces collecting after all the trials and tribulations that the”industry” has been through. Good to see no one paid a price for where racing is today…..still collecting….nothing will change.

  18. Kamal Ganesh says:

    All things considered the hardest category was horse of the year.a Winner had to be announced and clearly there is a sense of dissatisfaction with the choice.all the nominees have some kind of chink in their armour which just made getting a solid winner that much harder.most fans do agree with summer pudding but none the less good luck to all the winners and their teams.
    Hopefully next awards will have a better outcome

  19. Michael Moodley says:

    Surprised that the 2020 VDJ winner Belgarion has not picked up a single accolade . Came back as a gelding this past season , unbeaten this past season .
    Surely this horse should have been recognized

  20. Harold Narainsamy says:

    I also feel there is a Phumelela bias in these awards. If the chink in Summer Puddings Armour is that she has not taken on and beaten the boys, then how did Sentbydestiny not get the champion 2 year old filly award. Surely there is greater merit in her win against the best colts than that of Anything Goes in the fillys race. Which filly now has the higher rating? Or is it that Anything Goes is from Phumelela country?

  21. david mollett says:

    As I point out in my Business Day story today on the Equus awards, Karel M’s post that “it is clear they need to work on the parameters and composition of the voting panel” will hopefully not fall on deaf ears.
    No disrespect to my journo colleagues, but surely we would be better following the Cartier awards in the UK each December when the media get 40% of the vote.
    We have such a huge pool of talent to choose from in this country – here off the top of my head and in no particular order are a few names: Karel Miedema and Lance Benson (S Post), Stan Elley, Paul Lafferty, John Freeman, Michael Holmes, Robin Bruss, Jehan Malherbe, Lynton Ryan, Grant Knowles, Martin Locke and Turftalk’s Charl Pretorius.
    Then we have the older statesmen, Mike Bass and Chris Snaith, with huge knowledge of the sport. Yes, they would have to recuse themselves if the family was involved in a category, but they are honourable men who would give an honest verdict.
    Food for thought for new Equus chair, Natalie Turner.

  22. Pieta Louw. says:

    Ja, the panel….what can we say?

    There are suspect categories that they had an option on and others they rightly went with the form book.
    The fact that they blatantly refused to name a stayer award is an insult to owners that buy these horses on pedigree from breeders and pay trainers in order to compete for these kind of awards…..not every year is the same as far as our athletes are concerned….but the stayers award was always there.

    But here is my biggest frown…..”Lifetime Achievement Award” ?

    Normally this gets given to someone that has finished their career…….

    Can she qualify for it again next year or is that it for her?…….how many of these can she get?……

  23. Harold Narainsamy says:

    Why was my comment not published? I mentioned that if the chink in Summer Puddings armour was that she did not compete outside of the fillies races, why was Sentbydestiny not awarded 2 year old filly of the year ahead of Anything Goes? All things considered, Sentbydestiny beat the colts in a grade 1 and surely had achieved a higher rating than Anything Goes. @Ed, please print the curre t ratings of both fillies.

    1. Editor says:

      Hi Harold – your last comment was 4 August – so plse resubmit.
      Ratings as requested – Anything Goes is a 111 – Sentbydestiny a 105

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