Mid North Coast racing prowess has certainly been put on a pedestal in the last week. Glory doesn’t come easy these days with the competitive, testing times, so the accolades have had plenty of meaning for racing participants from Taree to Kempsey.
Firstly, the secretary of the Mid North Coast Racing Association, Michael Bowman, reported that members had awarded now four-year-old gelding Victorem the MNCRA’s “Horse Of The Year”.
The galloper has had seven starts for Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham and Port jockey Ben Looker for five wins and a second for prizemoney and bonuses of more than $700,000.
The I Am Invincible galloper out of Graham’s former race mare Playful Miss in getting the award won a TAB Highway at Randwick, the MNCRA Country Championship heat at Port, the Newhaven Country Championship Final at Randwick and was an unlucky second in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas.
Part-owner Peter Bannon, of Kempsey, who has a share in Victorem with his wife, Rhonda, said the galloper being named “Horse Of The Year” was “amazing.”
“You dream of these things, as lots of people with shares in racehorses do.”
Victorem has been back in work for about five weeks and “we just hope he keeps well and he gets his chance in The Kosiusko (a $1.3 million race over 1200m at Royal Randwick on October 13, the same day as the $13 million The Everest).
“No matter if he doesn’t get a run, we will go down as The Everest is always a good meeting,” Bannon said.
But more accolades could be in the offing as Victorem is one of three gallopers named by Racing NSW to compete for the “Country Horse Of The Year” award, the winner being named at a dinner in Sydney on September 28.
Also in line for awards are Looker for “Country Jockey Of The Year”, he riding over 100 winners in NSW and Queensland for the season and Port’s Cejay Graham who has won the title of “Leading Apprentice Of The Year” in the country.
She won the title despite being out of the saddle for several months after being injured in a race fall at Grafton.
Michael Bowman also named other leading MNCRA recipients with Newcastle trainer Kris Lees having 42 of his wins in the association, Looker notching 33 wins and Newcastle’s Louise Day having 23 wins in the association.
The presentation of the awards will be hosted by Manning Valley Race Club at its $172,000 TAB meeting, featuring the $32,000 Hopkins Livermore Cup, an open handicap over 1400m, on Friday, August 17.