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Able Friend crowned Horse of the Year at Hong Kong��s Champion Awards

10/07/2015

Able Friend scooped the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award at a glittering ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt this evening (10 July). A four-time Group 1 victor this term, the outstanding galloper was also named Champion Miler and secured 59% of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title.

Trainer John Moore’s brilliant charge was ranked as the best turf miler in the world following his superb victory in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and G1 Stewards’ Cup (1600m). He then shared the top spot in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, released by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) on 9 April. No Hong Kong horse has ever before been rated at the pinnacle of the world rankings. The five-year-old son of Shamardal was rated 125 for his outstanding two and a quarter-length win in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on 15 March.  He went on to notch a sixth consecutive win of the season in the G1 Champions Mile on 3 May. With such an outstanding record, he joins an elite rank that includes Fairy King Prawn, Electronic Unicorn, Bullish Luck, Good Ba Ba and Ambitious Dragon, all of which claimed the Horse of the Year honour and the Champion Miler title in the same season.

The Paul O’Sullivan-trained Aerovelocity was crowed Champion Sprinter in recognition of his remarkable performance in winning three Group 1 events in three different countries and regions, namely the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m), Japan’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) and Singapore’s KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m). The Pins gelding also defeated Able Friend when winning the HKG2 Premier Bowl (1200m) this term.

Last year’s Hong Kong Horse of the Year Designs On Rome was named Champion Middle-Distance Horse. The Moore-trained runner scored a hat-trick of wins mid-season, including the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) last December, the HKG3 Centenary Vase (1800m) in February and the G1 Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup in March. The son of Holy Roman Emperor then finished a creditable fourth in both the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m) and the G1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m). He ranked joint third in the first edition of the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2015.

The Champion Stayer title went to the Tony Cruz-trained Helene Super Star, primarily due to his storming run in May’s G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (2400m) that saw off last year’s Champion Stayer Dominant.

Thewizardofoz, a three-year-old Redoute’s Choice gelding, was unveiled as the season’s Champion Griffin. The John Size-trained youngster remained unbeaten after landing an impressive victory on his Hong Kong debut in May. He also won easily in his subsequent two starts, both Class Three events.

Also trained by John Size, Contentment was recognised as the season’s Most Improved Horse. A winner of five races so far this term, the Hussonet gelding rose 49 points to a mark of 101.

Brazilian sensation Joao Moreira emerged as the people’s choice for Most Popular Jockey, accruing 64% of the vote from the enthusiastic Hong Kong racing fans. He also sealed the 2014/2015 Champion Jockey title with four race meetings remaining. With 141 wins so far this season, Moreira has smashed Douglas Whyte’s previous record of 114 wins in a Hong Kong season. The Most Popular Jockey Award winner was also announced this evening.

The season’s Champion Trainer and Champion Jockey awards, as well as the newly established Best Freelance Jockey award, will be presented at Sunday’s Sha Tin season finale.

The recently-retired California Memory, the only two-time winner of the G1 Hong Kong Cup, and Ambitious Dragon, a two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year, were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards in recognition of their great contributions to Hong Kong racing.

The Judging Panel announced the Champion Awards winners for the 2014/15 season during the presentation ceremony held this evening as follows:-

Award

Winner

Owner

Trainer

Horse of the Year

Able Friend

Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan

John Moore

Most Popular Horse of the Year

Able Friend

Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan

John Moore

Champion Sprinter

Aerovelocity

Daniel Yeung Ngai

Paul O’Sullivan

Champion Miler

Able Friend

Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan

John Moore

Champion Middle-Distance Horse

Designs On Rome

Cheng Keung Fai

John Moore

Champion Stayer

Helene Super Star

Wilson Woo Ka Wah, Dawson Woo Ka Chung & Jackson Woo Ka Biu

Anthony Cruz

Champion Griffin

Thewizardofoz

Martin Siu Kim Sun

John Size

Most Improved Horse

Contentment

Benson Lo Tak Wing

John Size

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ambitious Dragon

Johnson Lam Pui Hung & Anderson Lam Hin Yue

Anthony Millard

Lifetime Achievement Award

California Memory

Howard Liang Yum Shing

Anthony Cruz

Between 9 June and 24 June, members of the public cast their votes to elect the Most Popular Horse and Most Popular Jockey. The top three with most votes in each category are as follows:

 

Order by number of votes received

Most Popular Horse

Most Popular Jockey

1

Able Friend
(76,772 votes)

Joao Moreira
(80,055 votes)

2

Aerovelocity
(20,203 votes)

Zac Purton
(17,603 votes)

3

Blazing Speed
(7,056 votes)

Douglas Whyte (9,065 votes)

Total Votes

129,728 votes

124,488 votes

 

The Champion Awards are decided by a Judging Panel made up of three members each from The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists (AHKRJ).

The HKJC votes are made by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Executive Director of Racing, Mr William A Nader, and Head of Handicapping and Race Planning, Mr Nigel C Gray.

The three members from the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists are Chairman Mr Carlos Wu, Vice Chairman Mr Ho Wing Keung and Committee Member Mr Benson Ip Wai Ping, whose opinions reflect the results of voting made by AHKRJ members.

 

Attachment: Past Winners of Champion Awards

Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, delivers a welcome speech at the 2014/15 Champion Awards presentation ceremony.
Photo 1:
Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, delivers a welcome speech at the 2014/15 Champion Awards presentation ceremony.

Officiating guests toast to kick off the Champion Awards presentation ceremony for the 2014/15 racing season. From left: <br>
Mr Apollo Ng, President of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association<br>Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>The Hon Sir C K Chow, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Mr Philip N L Chen, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Mr Anthony W K Chow, Deputy Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club <br>Mr Lester C H Kwok, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Dr Eric K C Li, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Mrs Margaret Leung, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club<br>Mr Carlos Wu, Chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists
Photo 2:
Officiating guests toast to kick off the Champion Awards presentation ceremony for the 2014/15 racing season. From left:
Mr Apollo Ng, President of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association
Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Hon Sir C K Chow, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr Philip N L Chen, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr Anthony W K Chow, Deputy Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr Lester C H Kwok, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Dr Eric K C Li, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mrs Margaret Leung, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Mr Carlos Wu, Chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists

Mr Apollo Ng, President of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association, presents the trophy to Mr Benson Lo Tak Wing, owner of Most Improved Horse Contentment.
Photo 3:
Mr Apollo Ng, President of the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association, presents the trophy to Mr Benson Lo Tak Wing, owner of Most Improved Horse Contentment.

Mr Carlos Wu, Chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists, presents the trophy to Mr Martin Siu Kim Sun, owner of Champion Griffin Thewizardofoz.
Photo 4:
Mr Carlos Wu, Chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Racing Journalists, presents the trophy to Mr Martin Siu Kim Sun, owner of Champion Griffin Thewizardofoz.

The Club has been a staunch supporter of cultural preservation of Fire Dragon Dance over the years. Tonight the luminous dragon dance performance sparkles anew as cultural heritage with creativity.
Photo 5:
The Club has been a staunch supporter of cultural preservation of Fire Dragon Dance over the years. Tonight the luminous dragon dance performance sparkles anew as cultural heritage with creativity.

Joao Moreira, voted the Most Popular Jockey of the Year, receives the trophy from Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Photo 6:
Joao Moreira, voted the Most Popular Jockey of the Year, receives the trophy from Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, CEO of The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Able Friend is voted the Most Popular Horse of the Year. The Hon Sir C K Chow, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan, owners of Able Friend.
Photo 7:
Able Friend is voted the Most Popular Horse of the Year. The Hon Sir C K Chow, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li Fook Kwan, owners of Able Friend.

Ms Colleen Lee, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarship awardee, puts on a piano performance.
Photo 8:
Ms Colleen Lee, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarship awardee, puts on a piano performance.

Dr Eric K C Li, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Wilson Woo Ka Wah, owner of Champion Stayer Helene Super Star, and his son.
Photo 9:
Dr Eric K C Li, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Wilson Woo Ka Wah, owner of Champion Stayer Helene Super Star, and his son.

Mr Philip N L Chen, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Daniel Yeung Ngai, owner of Champion Sprinter Aerovelovity.
Photo 10:
Mr Philip N L Chen, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mr Daniel Yeung Ngai, owner of Champion Sprinter Aerovelovity.

Mr Lester C H Kwok, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li, owner of Champion Miler Able Friend.
Photo 11:
Mr Lester C H Kwok, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li, owner of Champion Miler Able Friend.

Mr Anthony W K Chow, Deputy Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mrs Cheng Keung Fai, owner of Champion Middle-Distance Horse Designs on Rome.
Photo 12:
Mr Anthony W K Chow, Deputy Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Mrs Cheng Keung Fai, owner of Champion Middle-Distance Horse Designs on Rome.

Popular Hong Kong girls band, Robynn & Kendy, gives a finale singing performance of the 130th Anniversary celebration theme song ��Progressing Together��.
Photo 13:
Popular Hong Kong girls band, Robynn & Kendy, gives a finale singing performance of the 130th Anniversary celebration theme song ��Progressing Together��.

Photo 14, 15<br>Ambitious Dragon and California Memory are honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophies to Ambitious Dragon��s owners Johnson P H Lam and Anderson H Y Lam. Trainer Tony Cruz receives the trophy on behalf of, Howard Liang Yum Shing, owner of California Memory.
Photo 14:
Photo 14, 15
Ambitious Dragon and California Memory are honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophies to Ambitious Dragon��s owners Johnson P H Lam and Anderson H Y Lam. Trainer Tony Cruz receives the trophy on behalf of, Howard Liang Yum Shing, owner of California Memory.


Photo 15

Photo 16, 17<br>Able Friend is crowned Horse of the Year. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li, owners of Able Friend.
Photo 16:
Photo 16, 17
Able Friend is crowned Horse of the Year. Dr Simon S O Ip, Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, presents the trophy to Dr & Mrs Cornel Li, owners of Able Friend.


Photo 17

All presenters and award winners at the 2014/15 Champion Awards join for a group photo.
Photo 18:
All presenters and award winners at the 2014/15 Champion Awards join for a group photo.

 

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