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Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

The Highveld Feature Race Season awards will be dished out at a function in Johannesburg on Saturday and Rain In Holland is favourite to lift the horse of the season trophy.

Sean Tarry’s daughter of Duke Of Marmalade — owned and bred by Drakenstein Stud — won the Triple Tiara in the hands of top jockey Richard Fourie. The filly is a 13-1 chance for the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

Rain In Holland added to her bankroll when winning the grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes at the end of April and it will have been hard for the voting panel to look beyond her.

Possibly the judges will have considered Paul Peter’s talented sprinter Master Archie who posted important wins in the Computaform Sprint and Man ’O War Stakes. However, the son of Rafeef — beaten when favourite for the Tommy Hotspur Stakes — looks more likely to capture the champion sprinter award.

The most interesting category is that of champion three-year-old colt/gelding and here the judges might have burnt the midnight oil. The nominees are Aragosta, Master Archie, Red Saxon and Safe Passage.

This column’s vote would have gone to Safe Passage, who won the Dingaans and Gauteng Guineas and was narrowly beaten by Red Saxon in the SA Classic. That winner was then beaten 10 lengths by Aragosta in the SA Derby. While some panellists might feel Aragosta’s Derby win was all-important, the fact remains that he finished three lengths behind Safe Passage in the Gauteng Guineas.

The trainer of the season award should be a shoo-in for Paul Peter who won the Premier’s Challenge with Astrix, the Horse Chestnut Stakes with MK’s Pride, the SA Fillies Nursery with Maharanee, the SA Nursery with Miss Cool and the Computaform Sprint with Master Archie.

Rather like Manchester City in the Premier League, Peter does not have the trainers championship wrapped up yet, but Winning Form statistics to May 10 show him R4.6m ahead of Justin Snaith.

Though many racing fans will consider Warren Kennedy a sure thing for the champion jockey award, it might not be as straightforward as that. It depends on whether the panel is awarding the prize on the number of winners during the highveld season.

If not, that brings both Richard Fourie (rider of Rain In Holland, Nebraas and Aragosta) and S’manga Khumalo (rider of Safe Passage) into the equation.

Nominations for the Highveld Feature Race Season awards:

Two-year-old filly: Maharanee, Miss Cool

Two-year-old colt: Karagetang, Union Square

Champion three-year-old filly: To be announced

Champion three-year-old colt: Aragosta, Master Archie, Red Saxon, Safe Passage

Champion older horse: Astrix, Flying Carpet, MK’s Pride, Princess Calla

Champion sprinter: Alesian Chief, Al Muthana, Big Burn, Master Archie, Smorgasbord

Champion middle distance: Astrix, Flying Carpet, MK’s Pride, Princess Calla, Rain In Holland, Red Saxon

Champion stayer: Aragosta, Nebraas

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