NEWS

Werther named Horse of the Year at Hong Kong’s Champion Awards

08/07/2016 22:52

Werther claimed the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award at a sparkling ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt tonight, Friday 8 July. Hong Kong’s standout four-year-old followed-up a thrilling victory in this year’s BMW Hong Kong Derby with a stunning wide-margin triumph over elite international opponents in the G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup, both at Sha Tin this spring.

  • Werther is crowned Horse of the Year. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Johnson Chen, owner of Werther. Werther is also winner of “Champion Middle-Distance Horse” and voted “Most Popular Horse of the Year”.
    Werther is crowned Horse of the Year. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Johnson Chen, owner of Werther. Werther is also winner of “Champion Middle-Distance Horse” and voted “Most Popular Horse of the Year”.
  • All presenters and award winners at the 2015/16 Champion Awards join for a group photo.
    All presenters and award winners at the 2015/16 Champion Awards join for a group photo.

John Moore’s stable star ended his debut Hong Kong campaign with a record of three wins from six starts. The gelding, who races in the yellow and blue silks of owner Johnson Chen, ranks equal fourth in the latest edition of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings with a rating of 124. That figure is thanks to the son of Tavistock’s imperious four and a half-length AP QEII Cup win, in which he defeated star gallopers from Japan, Ireland, Australia and South Africa, as well as Hong Kong. 

A close second to Sun Jewellery in the first two legs of the 2016 4YO Classic Series, the HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Mile and HKG1 Hong Kong Classic Cup (1800m), Werther came into his own when stepped up in distance to 2000m for his Derby and AP QEII Cup wins. The New Zealand-bred is the fourth horse to have achieved the Derby/QEII double in the same year and those triumphs also clinched this season’s Champion Middle-Distance Horse award, while the public voted him the season’s Most Popular Horse with 39.3% of the vote.

“This is awesome. I can't believe it. I have to say I'm very fortunate. I'm very humbled and most privileged to be receiving this. Special thanks to trainer John Moore for his spearheading the team and engaging Hugh Bowman who rode beautifully for the BMW Hong Kong Derby and Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup,” said Chen.

Sun Jewellery was named the season’s Champion Miler. The John Size-trained four-year-old won four of his six starts, and, following his Classic Mile and Classic Cup triumphs, signed off for the term with a smart win against older rivals in the HKG3 Premier Cup (Handicap).

The Champion Sprinter award went to the Tony Cruz-trained Peniaphobia. The speedster made all under Joao Moreira to win the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint in December and enhanced his reputation with a fine third in Dubai’s G1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m). The five-year-old rounded off his season with a classy success in the HKG3 Sha Tin Vase (Handicap).

Blazing Speed claimed the Champion Stayer award. The Tony Cruz-trained stalwart won the G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup, one of only three mile-and-a-half races staged in Hong Kong, to seal the title.

Mr Stunning, a three-year-old from the Size stable, lived up to his name with three eye-catching wins from only four starts this season and claimed the Champion Griffin award.

Fabulous One received recognition as the season’s Most Improved Horse. The Chris So-trained four-year-old started the campaign on a rating of 46 but five wins from eight starts saw him rocket 61 points up the rankings to end the term on a mark of 107.

The season’s Champion Trainer and Champion Jockey awards, as well as the inaugural Tony Cruz Award given to the best homegrown rider, will be presented at Sunday’s (10 July) season finale at Sha Tin. The season’s Most Popular Jockey will also be revealed during racing on Sunday.

Apprentice Kei Chiong, the first female jockey to be licensed in Hong Kong since Carol Yu retired in 2000, is in pole position for the inaugural “Tony Cruz Award” ahead of Derek Leung and is also in the running for the Most Popular Jockey vote.

Joao Moreira has sealed the Champion Jockey Award for a second time thanks to an all-time record haul of  wins (163 with only Sunday’s finale remaining), while trainer John Size will on Sunday be officially crowned Hong Kong’s Champion Trainer, for an eighth time.

The Champion Awards Judging Panel announced the winners for the 2015/16 season during this evening’s presentation ceremony as follows:-

AwardWinnerOwnerTrainer
Horse of the Year Werther Johnson Chen John Moore
Most Popular Horse of the Year Werther Johnson Chen John Moore
Champion Sprinter Peniaphobia Huang Kai Wen Tony Cruz
Champion Miler Sun Jewellery Tung Moon Fai John Size
Champion Middle-Distance Horse Werther Johnson Chen John Moore
Champion Stayer Blazing Speed Fentons Racing Syndicate Tony Cruz
Champion Griffin Mr Stunning Maurice Koo Win Chong John Size
Most Improved Horse Fabulous One Fabulous Horse Syndicate Chris So

 

Past Winners of Champion Awards

Photo album