Charles Dickens (144 points) leads the Equus Horse Of The Year table into the final month of the season.
His win in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge saw him climb above stablemate Trip Of Fortune and open a large lead on his rivals.
It is reported that he will not race again this season and his current points tally is therefore likely to be what he carries through to the end of season.
Princess Calla (126) climbed to second place after her two wins in the Grade 1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes on Saturday and the Grade 1 South African Fillies Sprint in early June, adding to her previous three Graded race wins this season. Should she contest and win the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint at season end she would add 40 points to her tally which would then surpass Charles Dickens.
May’s log leader Trip Of Fortune (117) only added 6 more points to his tally after finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge, while Puerto Manzano (108) added 10 points to his tally with a victory in the Grade 3 Jubilee Stakes, his fourth win at Turffontein racecourse this season.
Both these geldings have the Grade 1 Champions Cup as a possible season ending target and a win in that race could likely catapult them to the top of the table.
While See It Again (92 points) narrowly missed out on winning the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July he only occupies seventh spot on the table and cannot surpass the points tally of fellow sophomore Charles Dickens for Horse Of The Year honours even if he wins the Grade 1 Champions Cup at month end.
The two other movers on the table were Gimme A Prince (110) after his easy win in the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint and, Desert Miracle (110) who bagged two second places in two Grade 1’s in the period under review.
- Champion Three-Year-Old Colt
Charles Dickens has this category sewn up for the season after his Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge win. A win for See It Again in the season ending Grade 1 Champions Cup will see him four points shy of Charles Dickens. No other three-year-old male made any progress on the log in the review period.
Charles Dickens (144 points) leads from See It Again (92), Anfields Rocket (52), Cousin Casey (40), Billy Bowlegs (38), and Son of Raj (32).
- Champion Three-Year-Old Filly
With no dominant performances from any three-year-old filly since January, Make It Snappy remains firmly in the lead in this category, despite having not raced since then.
She now, however, has three potential challengers for season end honours after the third place of Bless My Stars in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets July Handicap. A win in the season ending Grade 2 Gold Bracelet would lift either of Feather Boa or Bless My Stars above Make It Snappy on the table.
None Other added to her points tally after winning the Grade 2 Track and Ball Oaks in June. She could also add to her points tally by winning the Grade 2 Gold Bracelet and thereby equal the points tally of Make It Snappy.
Make It Snappy leads the table on 64 points, followed by Bless My Stars and Feather Boa (both 52), None Other (48), and retired Ciao Bella (32).
- Champion Older Male and Female
There are no new entrants into the Champion Older Male category this month. Trip Of Fortune (117 points) has a slender lead over Gimme A Prince (110) and Puerto Manzano (108). Al Muthana (78) and Jet Dark (70) make up the table. The outcome of the final two Grade 1 races, The Mercury Sprint and Champions Cup, will likely have an influence on the final points tally in this category.
Princess Calla (126) and Desert Miracle (110) have drawn well clear of their rivals in the Champion Older Female category. Rain In Holland (64), new-entrant Humdinger (45), and Under Your Spell (38) make up the table.
- Distance Categories
Gimme A Prince (98) maintained his slender lead in the Champion Sprinter category over Princess Calla (94). Both have an opportunity to ensure they top the table at season end by competing in and winning the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint at month end. Isivunguvungu (50), Rio Querari (28), and new-entrant Thunderstruck (26) make up the table.
While Charles Dickens won the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge, he remains in fourth spot in the Champion Miler category and will need the voting public and expert panel to intervene on his behalf in their two-thirds share of final votes in order to be crowned Equus Champion Miler. Trip Of Fortune (112) retains his large lead from Desert Miracle (88), Al Muthana (78), Charles Dickens (72), Humdinger (45), and Under Your Spell (38)
Puerto Manzano (100) maintains his clear lead on the Champion Middle Distance table. Rain In Holland (64) remains in second position while Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July winner, Winchester Mansion (58), is a new entrant. Retired Jet Dark (48) and dormant Make It Snappy (32) make up the table. A win in the month-end Grade 1 Champion Cup for either of the top-three could seal the top of the table in this category for the winner. (*There is an obvious mistake here because See It Again appears nowhere despite having won two Gr 1s over middle distances and finishing second in the July – Ed)
Future Pearl (20) was the main mover on the Champion Stayer table after his easy victory in the Grade 3 DSTV Gold Vase on Saturday 1 July and he joins Nebraas and Arumugam (both on 20) in joint second spot. Despite having not added any points to his tally in the KZN Winter Season, Salvator Mundi (23), still tops the table, while None Other (16) enters the table for the first time. The outcome of the month-end Grade 3 Durban Gold Cup will likely decide the table-topper of this category.
- Champion Two-Year-Old Colt
Unbeaten Lucky Lad (56 points) has secured top position in this category and cannot be displaced by his closest rivals after his win the Grade 1 Gold Medallion. Outlaw King (18), Sandringham Summit (16), Guy Gibson (12), and Gimmeanotherchance (10) make up the table.
- Champion Two-Year-Old Filly
Winter Cloud (32 points) has a theoretical chance of sharing honours at the top of the table in this category should she contest and win the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes at month end. Current leader Mrs Geriatrix (64) would need to skip that race or be unplaced for that occur. Distant Winter (12), Elegant Ice (12), and Golden Tatjana (10) make up the table.
The final Equus Points Tables for season 2022/23 will be published in the first week in August. Voting for the top-two to top-four candidates in each category – the exact number of candidates, in order of points, for voting to be confirmed by the Equus panel – will then be open to the public for a week while the expert panel deliberate on their final agreement of award.
The final equally weighted tally for each voting component will then determine the winner of each category and these will be announced at an awards ceremony on 23 August 2023, hosted by 4Racing.