The prestigious Horse of the Year Award is to be decided by public vote for the first time in the history of The Anglo-Irish Jump Racing Awards. Following another spectacular Jumps season, the British Horseracing Authority and Irish Turf Club have made the decision to open up the voting to a wider audience and let the public decide which equine hero should carry home the title.
Five truly deserving candidates have been shortlisted by representatives from Britain and Ireland, including the Head of Handicapping from both Authorities. The contenders were chosen based on their official rating, their role in promoting the sport of jump racing or a combination of the two.
Based on the above criteria, the five shortlisted candidates have been announced as follows:
· Big Buck’s: Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by The Stewart Family
· Binocular: Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by J P McManus
· Denman: Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Harry Findlay and Paul Barber
· Imperial Commander: Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and owned by Our Friends In The North
· Kauto Star: Trained by Paul Nicholls and owned by Clive Smith
Voting will take place through the British Horseracing Authority website at stage.britishhorseracing.com/horse-of-the-year via a secure voting system. Users will only be able to vote once and the results will remain entirely secure until Monday 24th May, when they will be announced at the highly-acclaimed Awards Ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London.
Voting will open at midday on Wednesday 12th May and close at midday on Friday 21st May. Anyone who votes will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets for the Awards Ceremony, including a two-course luncheon and complimentary bar.
Additionally, the British Horseracing Authority will be offering the public the chance to have their say as to who they think should take home the Horse of the Year Award and why. Using the exclusive BHA Xtra system, an online audio blogging service, the public can call in and leave their feedback on the finalists, all of which will be available for others to listen to. Feedback will also be tagged on a map of the country, allowing others to see from which geographical location the feedback originated. Full details of how to call into the BHA Xtra service are provided at stage.britishhorseracing.com/horse-of-the-year/have-your-say.asp.
Everyone who calls in and leaves a message will also be entered into a separate draw for two more tickets for the Awards ceremony.
Phil Smith, Head of Handicapping for the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“There have been many superb performances throughout the Jumps season, but the performances from the five horses that we have shortlisted for the Horse of the Year Award have been outstanding.”
Noel O’Brien, Senior Jumps Handicapper for the Irish Turf Club, commented:
“There has been an incredible public reaction to some of our greatest moments over the last few months, so it seems that the time is right to let the public have their say and decide which of these heroes should take home the title.”
Based on and coinciding with the publication of the Anglo-Irish National Hunt Classifications, the celebrated equine Awards, to be hosted by the leading BBC broadcaster, Clare Balding, will officially celebrate the highest-rated horses of the season in various categories. The British Horseracing Authority will also honour A P McCoy, Paul Nicholls, J P McManus and Rhys Flint, the season’s Champion Jockey, Trainer, Owner and Conditional Jockey in Britain.