Racing pundit Tony McCormick from www.irishbigracetrends.com presents his 2015 ‘Racing Ahead’ Awards.
Hero Of The Year - Jockey Bryan Cooper for his quick-thinking in saving Robbie Power from ‘disaster’ in November. Cooper was riding Gunnery Sergeant at Gowran Park on Saturday when his horse fell along with Neverushacon, who had Power on board. Power became tangled up, leaving him hanging by his left foot, as his horse attempted to speed off from the fall, only for Cooper to spot the danger and intervene, calming Neverushacon into submission.
Horse Of The Year – Winner of the Dante, The Derby, The Eclipse, The Irish Champion Stakes, The Arc, millions in prize money, as well as helping his shy retiring jockey back in to the headlines. Ladies and gentlemen, the John Gosden-trained, Frankie Dettori-ridden, Golden Horn.
Jumps Ride Of The Year – Well behind at the ninth fence, mistake at the 11th, still behind and 10th with three to jump. Hard ridden, eight lengths behind and still ninth two out, his young jockey never gave up hope as he made headway jumping the last in sixth to stay on strongly up the Sandown hill, as Sean Bowen and the Paul Nicholls-trained Just A Par won the Bet365 Gold Cup by one-and-a-half lengths.
Flat Ride Of The Year – I was lucky enough to be invited to York in August to watch the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, won by Pleascach, to pay tribute to Sir Henry Cecil in a race named in the great man’s honour and to see filly Besharah beat a strong field to take the Group 2 Lowther by two-and-a-bit lengths. Highlight of the day was, though, the cool under pressure ride George Baker gave to his mount Chil The Kite, being behind his 17 rivals, meeting trouble, before coming wide to get the six-year-old’s head up on the line.
Rising Star: Flat Jockey - ‘’He is a good ‘un, he has got great hands’’ told to myself by the legendary Peter Easterby following the win of Strong Man, ridden by Nathan Evans, in the fifth running of the irishbigracetrends.com Handicap at Beverley.
Rising Star: Jump Jockey – 16-year-old Jack Kennedy is certainly one to watch. Jack has emerged as a truly remarkable jockey and a record-breaker; as a 13 year old, back in 2012, he claimed the title of Irish Field National Champion Jockey. He caught my eye finishing second in this years Ebor on Wicklow Brave at York, he has since gone on to ride 15 winners for trainer Gordon Elliott, including a treble at Navan in November.
Rising Star: Flat Horse – The Aiden O’Brien-trained Minding, looked a late developer when beating stablemate Ballydoyle in September, but caught everyone’s breath when winning the Group 1 Dubai Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October by fourand-a-half lengths.
Rising Star: Jump Horse – Many eye-catchers for me here, but it has to be Gordon Elliot’s Tombstone. A serious horse, that is well talked up, in the right circles.
For more details on the ’12 RACES OF CHRISTMAS’ go to irishbigracetrends.com