• Kauto Star posts joint-highest rating in the ten years of the Classifications.
• Future looks good for the Irish with best novice hurdler and chaser in Hurricane Fly and Cooldine.
Kauto Star was crowned Horse of the Year for a second time at today’s Anglo-Irish Jump Awards held in London’s Jumeirah Carlton Towers Hotel.
He regains the title he first won in 2007 and was given a rating of 186 for his stunning victory in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March, the joint highest rating in the ten years of the Classifications.
The Awards, held jointly by the British Horseracing Authority and the Irish Turf Club, were hosted by Nick Luck and were presented in front of an audience of close to 200 of jump racing’s leading owners, trainers, jockeys, the media and other industry figures. They coincide with the publication of the Anglo-Irish National Hunt Classifications which provide a retrospective measurement of the best sustainable performances during the recent season.
Clive Smith, owner of Kauto Star, is no stranger to these Awards, having scooped four for Kauto Star’s efforts over a variety of trips in 2006-07 and another two last year – one apiece for Kauto and Master Minded. This year he takes home three awards – Kauto Star as Horse of the Year and top Three Mile-plus Chaser, and Master Minded’s Two Mile Chaser title.
British Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is extending his dominance of the chasing scene to that of hurdlers. Big Buck’s, owned by the Stewart Family, posted the highest rating for a staying hurdler (174) and becomes the second highest rated hurdler in the Classifications ten year history beneath the great Istabraq on 176.
Ruby Walsh, first jockey to both Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins, will face – as ever – some incredibly tough decisions when it comes to deciding upon rides at the major Festivals next year, because Willie Mullins trains both the best novice hurdler and chaser in the Classifications, in Hurricane Fly and Cooldine. Remarkably, he also trains the second highest rated novice hurdler and chaser in Mikael d’Haguenet and Barker, who were both just 1lb from the top spot. With Forpadydeplasterer the third highest rated novice chaser, the Irish hold plenty of hope of taking home more awards next year.
The Awards also support the strong narrative that underpins the Jumps season. Three of the eight award winners posted their best performances at the Cheltenham Festival, but with Exotic Dancer in the Old Roan at Aintree, Master Minded in the Tingle Creek at Sandown, Voy Por Ustedes in the Ascot Chase at Ascot and Hurricane Fly at Punchestown, racegoers have seen top-notch performances throughout the season.
The formal presentations for the Order of Merit saw Sir Robert Ogden’s Voy Por Ustedes win the £200,000 first prize, having come third in the series last year. This season, for the first time, 20% of the owner’s prize money goes to a charity of the owner’s choice and Sir Robert nominated the National Autistic Society and Macmillan Cancer Support as recipients, both of which have already received significant personal donations in recent years by Sir Robert.
BHA Chairman Paul Roy said: “Season after season, jump racing gives its fans on either side of the Irish Sea both plenty to look back on and plenty to look forward to. Making a DVD of the season’s highlights shouldn’t be difficult as there were plenty – from the awesome class of Kauto Star’s win in the totesport Gold Cup to Order of Merit winner Voy Por Ustedes’ gutsy performance at Aintree, this season has given us plenty to cheer.”
Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee Senior Steward Michael Doyle said:
“The National Hunt season has witnessed new records being set on both sides of the Irish Sea and we are privileged to have experienced some outstanding performances from the horses and jockeys. We are delighted to co-host these prestigious awards and look forward to the new season where we hope the new promising talent will develop into star quality performers.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The full list of Award winners was as follows:
Awards Winners Rating
CHAMPION NOVICE HURDLER Hurricane Fly 157
CHAMPION NOVICE CHASER Cooldine 160
CHAMPION TWO-MILE HURDLER Binocular 169
CHAMPION TWO-MILE CHASER Master Minded 178
MILE + HURDLER Big Buck’s 174
CHAMPION TWO-AND-A-HALF = Exotic Dancer 171
MILE CHASER = Voy Por Ustedes 171
CHAMPION THREE-MILE + CHASER Kauto Star 186
BRITISH CHAMPION CONDITIONAL Aidan Coleman
BRITISH CHAMPION JOCKEY Tony McCoy
BRITISH CHAMPION TRAINER Paul Nicholls
BRITISH CHAMPION OWNER John P McManus
HORSE OF THE YEAR Kauto Star 186