Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller was presented his seventh successive Bart Cummings Medal during tonight’s NSW Racing’s Night of Champions awards held at Royal Randwick.
The Bart Cummings Medal point score – honouring the legendary trainer who passed away just under two years ago – is comprised of votes from leading Sydney racing journalists.
Chris Waller cleared away in the Bart Cummings Medal point scores with 92 points for the season, well in advance of runner-up Hugh Bowman (51 points) with Brenton Avdulla finishing third on 44 points. Waller also collected the T.J. Smith Award for Sydney’s leading trainer with 152 winners.
“Sydney racing has never been stronger and for Chris Waller and his team to continually be front runners is testament to Chris’s skill, expertise and hard work,” said Mr Peter V’landys AM, Racing NSW’s Chief Executive.
“Winning seven straight Bart Cummings Medals and Sydney trainers’ premierships is an amazing accomplishment. Chris has branded himself a leader in our sport.”
Hugh Bowman claimed his fourth George Moore Award for winning the Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership with 83 wins for the season. Hugh previously won the title in 2008-09, 2011-12 and 2014-15.
Talented 19-year-old rider Andrew Adkins took out the coveted Theo Green Award for leading Sydney apprentice with 36 wins for the season. Adkins enjoyed his finest season to date winning five Stakes races on Boss Lane (twice), Daysee Doom, Classic Uniform and In Her Time.
Prominent NSW Racehorse Owners award winners were superstar Winx (TAB.com.au NSW Champion Horse of the Year; Whitby Bloodstock Miler of the Year and NZ Bloodstock Middle-Distance Horse of the Year), Le Romain (Sky Thoroughbred Central NSW Provincial Horse of the Year), Single Gaze (Sky Thoroughbred Central NSW Country Horse of the Year), Tycoon Tara (ATC NSW Sprinter of the Year), Big Duke (Emirates NSW Stayer of the Year) and Zanbagh (Inglis Queen of the Autumn).
Connections of The Everest contender Chautauqua received the NSWROA’s Industry Recognition Award – the first equine ever to receive this award. The remaining Racing NSW award winners were: -
Team Winx (NSW Racing Writers’ Personality of the Year): Fairfax’s Chris Roots said: “The joy of having a champion racehorse has been generously shared around by Team Winx. From owners Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke, through to trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman, the group has been open with the public about plans for their champion, even as expectations have risen with every win.”
Riharna Thomson (Sydney Strapper of the Year: posthumous – Keith Dryden/Scott Collings stable): Keith Dryden said: “Riharna came to our stables with a desire to become a confident stablehand/trackwork rider. In the first year, her trackwork progressed from riding slow work to full fast work. Not only did she ride extremely well, but her efforts around the stables were outstanding and she was promoted to a stable foreperson in February 2017. I cannot recall her ever being late for duties or having a sick day. On many occasions after returning from interstate raceday engagements late in the evening, Riharna would not leave the stables until those travelling horses were all bedded down and she had prepared the race gear bag for the following day. While being such a fine employee, Riharna still found time to undertake a 4-year part-time uni course in politics. Riharna was one of the most loyal and outstanding workers I have employed in my 30-plus years as a trainer and her loss has been devastating to us all.”
Memes and Zumbelina (BOBS Horse(s) of the Year): The joint winners, Memes (managing owner Braden Brown) and Zumbelina (owner Richard Treweeke) both won $70,000 in BOBS bonuses for their connections. The Jason Coyle-trained Memes finished fast by winning three BOBS bonuses during the winter to tie with fellow mare, Zumbelina (Chris Waller).
Final standings for the 2016-17 Bart Cummings Medal: - 92 - Chris WALLER 51 - Hugh BOWMAN 44 - Brenton AVDULLA 42 - Kerrin McEVOY 40 - Tommy BERRY 39 - Peter & Paul SNOWDEN 35 - John O’SHEA 33 - Tim CLARK 28 - Josh PARR 25 - Gai WATERHOUSE/Adrian BOTT 24 - Tye ANGLAND, Rachel KING