It was a night for the McKees at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards at Hamilton's Claudelands Events Centre.
Last night, the Stephen McKee-trained Mufhasa claimed his second horse of the year title, three years after his first, while Trevor McKee was honoured for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand racing.
Best known as the co-trainer and part-owner of champion mare Sunline, Trevor McKee has lived his life in racing, progressing from riding to training and earning the respect of all along the way.
Mufhasa won four Group I races last season to take his career tally to nine, helping to seal his third sprinter of the year crown.
Mufhasa polled 37 votes out of a possible 43 to take the supreme award, with Jimmy Choux and Veyron both getting two votes and Shez Sinsational, trained by New Plymouth's Allan Sharrock, and Silent Achiever one apiece.
His season highlights included wins in the Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings, the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield, the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham and the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.
Last year's horse of the year, Jimmy Choux, who defeated Mufhasa to win the Group I Windsor Park Plate last season, was named champion middle-distance performer, getting 27 votes to Veyron's 12, Mufhasa's three and Shez Sinsational's two.
Shez Sinsational was named stayer of the year, with Silent Achiever named three-year-old of the year and Warhorse easily outpointing Choise Bro - 31 votes to 11 - to claim the two-year-old title.
Ima Heroine was named champion jumper and Planet Rock was honoured for winning the filly of the year series. Zabeel was honoured with his 15th Dewar Stallion Award, while O'Reilly won the Grosvenor Award and Pins, the Centaine Award.
The Oaks Stud was named owner of the year, while So You Think's dam, Triassic, was named broodmare of the year for the second straight year. Cecile and Alex Smith were named breeders of the year. James McDonald was named champion jockey, outpolling Lisa Allpress 25 votes to 19, with Jason Collett picking up the champion apprentice title.
Richard Cully picked up the jumps jockey award with 26 votes, 10 more than Mathew Gillies' 16.
John Sargent was named champion trainer.
Trackside's Karyn Fenton-Ellis won the media award.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chairman Matthew Goodson said the awards celebrated 12 months of "great performances by New Zealand horses, horsemen and horsewomen".
"Tonight we celebrated not only our outstanding horses, but also their owners, breeders, trainers and riders, and the outstanding contribution to racing award.
"It is important we celebrate all our successes and recognise how much every one of these, both winners and nominees, has promoted our racing and breeding industries."
Trackside will screen a highlights package of the awards at 8pm on Saturday and at 1am and 11am on Sunday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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