Dundeel steals the show at racing awards night
Dundeel is the 2014 New Zealand horse of the year.
The Cambridge galloper, who is about to begin a stud career in Australia, beat top mare Silent Achiever for the premier award by 28 votes to 18.
The horse of the year awards were announced at a dinner in Hamilton last night.
Dundeel won just two of his seven starts as a four-year-old but all of them were at Group I level and the wins were big ones.
He became the only horse to beat champion mare Atlantic Jewel when successful in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield in the spring and won the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), the richest race at the Sydney autumn carnival, beating Sacred Falls and Carlton House.
His only unplaced run as a four-year-old came in the Cox Plate, after his buildup had been hampered by a foot problem.
Over his career, the High Chaparral entire won 10 races and earned A$5.4 million in stakes from 19 starts. He was trained by Murray Baker but did not race in New Zealand again after making a winning debut at Ellerslie as a two-year-old. He is starting his first season at Arrowfield Stud, in New South Wales, this spring at a A$25,000 service fee.
Dundeel and Silent Achiever were the only horses to attract a vote for horse of the year and the former (38) also beat Silent Achiever (9) to take the middle-distance award.
Silent Achiever was rewarded for a wonderful autumn when an almost unanimous choice as stayer of the year. Silent Achiever won three successive Group I races, and beat Dundeel in both the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and The BMW (2400m), before finishing fourth in the Queen Elizabeth.
Kevin Hickman, Silent Achiever's owner-breeder, also bred top juvenile Vespa and won the awards for both owner and breeder of the year.
Otaki youngster Vespa was a unanimous choice as two-year-old of the year and New Zealand Derby winner Puccini (28) comfortably headed Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance (10) in voting for three-year-old of the year.
Railway Stakes winner Bounding had a clear majority in voting for sprinter of the year and the Great Northern and Wellington Steeplechase winner Rangatira was jumper of the year.
The training and riding awards went to the respective premiership winners - Matt Cameron (jockey), Lisa Latta (trainer) and Mathew Gillies (jumps jockey).
Stareel, the dam of Dundeel, was broodmare of the year while broadcaster Peter Earley took the media award.
Veteran jockey David Walsh, who last season became the most successful rider in New Zealand racing, received the award for the outstanding contribution to racing.